What is the maximum age for a human? Scientists make a striking statement
When Jeanne Calment died on August 4, 1997, she was 122 years and 165 days old. The Supercentenary – the name of the small group of people who live to age 110 – still holds the (still debated) record for longest human life.
As the world’s human population grows, so do the chances of more people living unusually long lives. According to the Pew Research Center, the world’s centenarian population quadrupled between 1990 and 2015. The number of people over 100 is expected to reach 3.7 million by 2050.
And while a new statistical analysis suggests there is no limit to human lifespan – and argues that it’s theoretically possible that a person could reach 130 years of age – the concept of infinite longevity is more complicated than that.
The upper limit of human lifespan
In 2017, researchers were looking for the upper limit of human lifespan. They used data from 285,000 Dutch residents who had lived at least 92 years. Ninety-seven percent of people died before their 97th birthday and 99.5% did not live beyond 107 years. They have determined that once a person turns 110, there is about a 50 to 50 chance that they will live to see their next birthday. Their predictions were published in the journal Extreme.
The authors of a new study, published Wednesday in the journal Open Science of the Royal Society, wanted to see if a recently released and much larger dataset produced the same results. They extracted data on French and Italian super-centenarians, as well as semi-super-centenarians (those who live to 105 years), from the International Longevity Database.
What they found mirrored previous calculations: A person who lived to be 110 has about the same chance of reaching their 130th birthday as they do to flip a coin and get heads 20 times in a row.
The odds are “around one in a million, which is very unlikely but not impossible,” explains lead researcher Anthony Davison, professor of statistics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Reverse.
In theory, the mathematical prediction suggests that there is no upper limit to human lifespan. However, the data was limited to those who are already predisposed to living an extraordinarily long life.
“Our results apply to people over the age of 105, so I’m not sure how that might be relevant to the average person,” Davison said.
How to live after 100
With a few exceptions, the modern Homo sapiens live no more than 115 years, says S. Jay Olshansky Reverse. Olshansky is a professor of public health and research associate at the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago and was not involved in any of these studies.
Davison and his colleagues concluded that although he was possible that due to the increasing number of people living beyond the age of 100, a person can live to be 130 in the next century. But it’s not something we should expect to see in the near future.
“In these bodies, we are not going to reach 150.
While people living in Blue Zones – areas of the world where people live longer than average, such as Okinawa, Japan and Loma Linda, California – have lifestyles and diets that predispose them to live longer, Olshansky says super-centenarians can attribute their age to genetics. , not lifestyles.
“You can’t reach old age without winning the genetic lottery at birth,” he says.
“If you ignore the biology that determines human longevity, you’re going to miss the big picture and anyone who claims there is no upper limit to longevity is missing the big picture,” says Olshansky .
Is it possible that someone could theoretically live decades longer than the supposed record of 122 years, but Olshansky says believing most people will live to be super-centenarians is like saying most people can run? a four-minute mile because a handful of extraordinary athletes have.
On its own, the recalculation does not change anything for humans who hope to live into the Golden Age. Although there is no biological switch limiting human life at a certain age, people still cannot live indefinitely.
One reason is that the biological aging of any species is directly related to its breeding window, and “we’re not going to be manipulating these models genetically anytime soon,” says Olshansky.
“In these instances, we are not going to reach 150,” he adds.
Why? A study published in May in Nature Communication calculated the progressive loss of resilience of the human body. Researchers estimated that after around 120 to 150 years of life, the body would no longer be able to repair itself after experiencing normal stressors.
Essentially, he would fall apart.
What happens after – Earlier this month, Amazon founder and CEO of Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, announced that he had invested in a mysterious new startup called Altos Labs. The company is exploring biological reprogramming technology that can slow human aging.
It’s not totally science fiction. According to Olshansky, some scientists believe there is a reset in aging at conception since the age of the sperm and egg that create the new human is well beyond zero. This hypothetically means slowing down or reversing the “aging clock” through epigenetic reprogramming.
He is part of a group of scientists who are trying to understand the mechanisms that allow a sperm and an egg of biological age of 20 or 30 years to form a new cell that has no record of the age of the cells. maternal and paternal. The biological age of reproductive cells may be different from other cells in the body, or the phenomenon may be due to a reset in aging.
The big question is whether or not we can use this reset function to recreate or slow down biological aging. The technology can simply be used in specific parts of the body, like the heart, which cannot function forever.
“I don’t know how this might influence lifespan, but it’s exciting work and it’s just the tip of the iceberg of research focused on slowing down the biological aging process,” Olshansky says.
Meanwhile, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and the Boston University School of Medicine are looking closely at the extremely long lifespan to determine which genes are unique to these people.
“We know that there is a phenotype linked to exceptional longevity and it is possible that they may be able to discover certain alleles,” says Olshansky. If they do, “maybe we can emulate that for the rest of the population.”
Maybe that doesn’t mean living to 130, but it could mean living a lot longer.
Abstract: We use a combination of extreme value statistics, survival analyzes and intensive computer methods to analyze the mortality of Italian and French semi-supercentenarians. After taking into account the effects of the sampling frame, modeling the extreme values leads to the conclusion that the constant force of mortality beyond 108 years describes the data well and that there is no evidence of differences between countries and cohorts. These results are consistent with the use of a Gompertz model and with previous analysis of the International Longevity Database and suggest that any physical upper limit for human lifespan is so large that it is unlikely. that she be approached. Power calculations make the existence of an upper limit lower than 130 years unlikely. There is no evidence of differences in survival between women and men after 108 years in the Italian data and the International Longevity Database, but survival is lower for men in the French data.