There's a chance you can live until 110, says new study

But only if you make it to 105 first

29 June 2018 - 14:21 By AFP Relaxnews
New research suggests that we may be able to live longer than previously thought.
New research suggests that we may be able to live longer than previously thought.
Image: iStock / Alija

New research suggests that humans might be able to live until the ripe old age of 110 after all, finding that human life expectancy plateaus after 105.

Carried out by researchers at the University of California, USA, and Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, the study looked at records of 3,836 Italian residents who were all aged 105 and older between the years of 2009 and 2015.

After tracking how many residents died and at what age, the team found that after 105 the chances of survival plateaued, a finding which goes against previous research suggesting that the human lifespan has a final cut-off point. 

More specifically, the results showed that those between the ages of 105 and 109, known as semi-supercentenarians, had a 50/50 chance of dying within the year and an expected further life span of 1.5 years. 

That life expectancy rate was also projected to be the same for those who were 110 years old, known as supercentenarians, hence why the researchers said that life expectancy plateaus at a certain age.

Our data tell us that there is no fixed limit to the human lifespan yet in sight
Study senior author Kenneth Wachter

"Our data tell us that there is no fixed limit to the human lifespan yet in sight," said study senior author Kenneth Wachter. "Not only do we see mortality rates that stop getting worse with age, we see them getting slightly better over time." 

The team also commented that the study provides the best evidence to date to suggest that extreme-age mortality plateaus in humans, and credited the Italian National Institute of Statistic for their reliable tracking methods, which measure age at time of death to the nearest day. "These are the best data for extreme-age longevity yet assembled," said Wachter.

The team explained that those who live until their 80s and 90s experience an increase in risk of death due to frailty, as well as a higher risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, dementia, stroke, cancer and pneumonia.

Wachter and study co-author James Vaupel theorise that a long life is a results of demographic selection and/or natural selection, with frail people tending to die earlier while those who are lucky to have more favourable genes live longer. 

To date, the oldest human on record, Jeanne Calment of France, died in 1997 at age 122.

The results were published in the journal Science.


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