A new study published in Nature’s website countered a previously set limit on maximum human lifespan. To carry out the study, a team of biologists at the McGill University examined he lifespan of the longest-living people from the U.S., the U.K., France, and Japan for each year since 1968. The experts did not observe a limit on human lifespan, as previously suggested. The experts noted that the limit, if it exists at all, is yet to be discovered.
“It does not mean that we know there is no limit. But because we can detect no limit it is possible that indeed there is no limit. Average human life span keeps increasing dramatically and maximum human lifespan seems to follow. I see no statistical or demonstrated biological reason how we would know that this must stop…no plateau in the increase in maximum human lifespan can currently be observed. I am not saying that I believe humans will ever be able to live forever. However, in the absence of proof to the contrary as a scientist, I keep an open mind,” McGill University biologist Siegfried Hekimi was quoted in saying in an article posted in the USA Today website.
According to Hekimi, many people have been made aware of the changes in human lifespan over the years. For instance, Hemiki noted that an average Canadian born in the 1920s had a life expectancy of 60 years, while those born in the 1980s had a life expectancy of up to 76 years. Today’s life expectancy for an average Canadian is at 82 years, and the trend on maximum human lifespan is seemingly following an upward trend, Hemiki said.
The biologist added that while some scientists may argue that technological advancements, medical interventions, and better living conditions may all extend the human lifespan, it is impossible to determine what the future of human lifespan would look like.
Previous study on maximum human lifespan says otherwise
In contrast with the current findings, a study published in the same journal last year revealed that the human race has already attained its maximum lifespan limit, and could no longer go past the ages attained by the oldest people on record. As part of the study, a team of researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine pooled data from the Human Mortality Database, which keeps track of mortality and population records from more than 40 countries.
The researchers observed a significant decline in late-life mortality in the countries since the 1900s. According to the experts, U.S. babies born today may have a life expectancy of up to age 79, a far cry from the average life expectancy of only 47 for those born in 1900. The research team also noted that the maximum duration of life showed an upward trend since the 1970s. The research team also observed that survival gains for people born in the 1900s peaked at around 100 years. However, this was followed by a rapid decline in survival gains regardless of when the person was born. This demonstrates diminishing survival gains and potential limits on human lifespan, the researchers said. By pooling data from the International Database on Longevity, the experts determined that the average maximum human life span would be at 115 years. (Related: U.S. life expectancy shows an all-time low since 1993)
“Further progress against infectious and chronic diseases may continue boosting average life expectancy, but not maximum lifespan.While it’s conceivable that therapeutic breakthroughs might extend human longevity beyond the limits we’ve calculated, such advances would need to overwhelm the many genetic variants that appear to collectively determine the human lifespan. Perhaps resources now being spent to increase lifespan should instead go to lengthening healthspan — the duration of old age spent in good health,” senior author Jan Vijg wrote on ScienceDaily.com.
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