Want to live forever? There is no theoretical limit to human lifespan, new study finds


Humans can likely live to be at least 130 years old, and possibly well beyond, although the chances of reaching such a late age are remote, new research shows.

The outer limit of human lifespan has long been hotly debated, with recent studies claiming that we could live to be 150 years old, or claiming that there is no theoretical maximum age for humans.

The new research, published Wednesday in the Royal Society Open Science journal, enters the debate by analyzing new data on super-centenarians – people aged 110 or older – and semi-super-centenarians, aged 105 or older.

While the risk of death typically increases throughout our lifetimes, the researchers’ analysis shows that the risk eventually levels off and remains constant at around 50-50.

“Beyond 110, you might think that living another year is almost like flipping a coin,” said Anthony Davison, professor of statistics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), who led the research.

“If that happens, then you live until your next birthday, and if not, you will die at some point in the next year,” he told AFP.

Based on the data available so far, it seems likely that humans can live to at least 130 years, but extrapolating the results “would imply that there is no limit to the lifespan. human, ”the research concludes.

The findings correspond to similar statistical analyzes performed on data sets of very old people.

“But this study reinforces those findings and makes them more precise because more data is now available,” Davison said.

The first dataset the team looked at is newly released material from the International Longevity Database, which covers more than 1,100 supercentenarians from 13 countries.

The second comes from Italy on every person who was at least 105 years old between January 2009 and December 2015.

‘One in a million’

The job is to extrapolate from existing data, but Davison said it was a logical approach.

“Any study of extreme old age, whether statistical or biological, will involve extrapolation,” he said.

“We were able to show that if there is a limit lower than 130 years, we should have been able to detect it now using the data now available,” he added.

Still, just because humans can theoretically reach 130 or more doesn’t mean we’ll likely see it anytime soon.

For starters, the analysis is based on people who have already achieved the relatively rare feat of well over 100.

And even at 110, your odds of reaching 130 are “about one in a million … not impossible but very unlikely,” Davison said.

He thinks we could see people reach 130 over the course of the century, as more and more people reach Supercentennial status, increasing the chances of one person becoming the one in a million.

“But in the absence of major medical and social advances, it is very unlikely that ages much higher than that will ever be observed,” he added.

For the moment, the oldest person recorded is the Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the confirmed age of 122 years.

His actual age has been the subject of controversy, with allegations of possible fraud, but in 2019 several experts said a review of the evidence confirmed his age.

Other contenders for the oldest person’s throne still have a long way to go. The oldest verified living person in the world is the relatively young 118-year-old Japanese Kane Tanaka.

© Agence France Presse

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