Live Long and Prosper!

Spock’s famous line from the Star Trek series segues nicely into a new study that suggests the human life span may have hit its longevity limit.

From CBS News:

Over the past 100 years, human life expectancy has increased greatly thanks in large part to advancements in science and medicine.

In addition to longer average lifespans, the maximum age at death of the longest-living people also rose steadily throughout the 20th century, leaving many to speculate that human longevity may not have an upper limit.

But a new report shows that this upward trend has slowed down in recent years and suggests that we have already reached the limit to the human lifespan.

The New York Times quoted the study’s author Dr. Jan Vijg, an expert on aging at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as saying, “It seems highly likely we have reached our ceiling. “From now on, this is it. Humans will never get older than 115.”

A National Public Radio (NPR) story added:

The researchers found that the age of the oldest people dying had indeed increased steadily between the 1960s and 1990s, according to their report.

But beginning in the 1990s, “you no longer see that,” Vijg says. “You see that it stays the same.”

The absolute maximum human life span may be as high as 125, the researchers calculated. But the chances of anyone actually living that long are less than 1 in 10,000.

The infographic below comes to us from Nature.com and it appears to show that longevity has not changed much over the past 35 years.

life_expectancy

However, not everyone agrees with the ‘topping out at the ripe old age of 115’ theory. According to the BBC, Professor James Vaupel, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, described the study as a “dismal travesty” and said scientists had, in the past, claimed the limit was 65, 85 and 105 only to be proven wrong over and over again.

“In this sorry saga, those convinced that there are looming limits did not apply demography and statistics to test hypotheses about lifespan limits—instead they exploited rhetoric, deficient methods and pretty graphics to attempt to prove their gut feelings,” Vaupel said.

“[This study] adds nothing to scientific knowledge about how long we will live.”

By the way, it is believed that Jeanne Calment lived longer than any other human before passing away back in 1997 at the age of 122!

Share your thoughts on this new report and whether you believe we have reached our life span ceiling. Generating conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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