Maximum human lifespan has already been reached, researchers conclude

October 5, 2016
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A study published online today in Nature by Albert Einstein College of Medicine scientists suggests that it may not be possible to extend the human life span beyond the ages already attained by the oldest people on record.

Since the , average life expectancy has risen almost continuously thanks to improvements in , diet, the environment and other areas. On average, for example, U.S. babies born today can expect to live nearly until age 79 compared with an average life expectancy of only 47 for Americans born in 1900. Since the 1970s, the maximum duration of life—the age to which the oldest people live—has also risen. But according to the Einstein researchers, this upward arc for maximal lifespan has a ceiling—and we've already touched it.

"Demographers as well as biologists have contended there is no reason to think that the ongoing increase in maximum lifespan will end soon," said senior author Jan Vijg, Ph.D., professor and chair of genetics, the Lola and Saul Kramer Chair in Molecular Genetics, and professor of ophthalmology & visual sciences at Einstein. "But our data strongly suggest that it has already been attained and that this happened in the 1990s."

Dr. Vijg and his colleagues analyzed data from the Human Mortality Database, which compiles mortality and population data from more than 40 countries. Since 1900, those countries generally show a decline in late-life mortality: The fraction of each birth cohort (i.e., people born in a particular year) who survive to old age (defined as 70 and up) increased with their calendar year of birth, pointing toward a continuing increase in average life expectancy.

But when the researchers looked at survival improvements since 1900 for people aged 100 and above, they found that gains in survival peaked at around 100 and then declined rapidly, regardless of the year people were born. "This finding indicates diminishing gains in reducing late-life mortality and a possible limit to human lifespan," said Dr. Vijg.

He and his colleagues then looked at "maximum reported age at death" data from the International Database on Longevity. They focused on people verified as living to age 110 or older between 1968 and 2006 in the four countries (the U.S., France, Japan and the U.K.) with the largest number of long-lived individuals. Age at death for these supercentenarians increased rapidly between the 1970s and early 1990s but reached a plateau around 1995—further evidence for a lifespan limit. This plateau, the researchers note, occurred close to 1997—the year of death of 122-year-old French woman Jeanne Calment, who achieved the maximum documented lifespan of any person in history.

Using maximum-reported-age-at-death data, the Einstein researchers put the average maximum human life span at 115 years—a calculation allowing for record-oldest individuals occasionally living longer or shorter than 115 years. (Jeanne Calment, they concluded, was a statistical outlier.) Finally, the researchers calculated 125 years as the absolute limit of human lifespan. Expressed another way, this means that the probability in a given year of seeing one person live to 125 anywhere in the world is less than 1 in 10,000.

"Further progress against infectious and chronic diseases may continue boosting , but not maximum lifespan," said Dr. Vijg. "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."

Explore further: Global life expectancy up five years since 2000: WHO

More information: Nature, nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nature19793

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32 comments

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krundoloss
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 05, 2016
Expressed another way, this means that the probability in a given year of seeing one person live to 125 anywhere in the world is less than 1 in 10,000.


Wouldn't it be more like 1 in 7.5 billion? Since no one has lived to the age of 125 yet?

No doubt that genetics control this maximum lifespan, and that getting into 110 years or older is a lucky combination of good genetics, good luck, and healthy living.

I think these number will go down, as there are many, many people who do not eat healthy food like many of our elders. My parents still have their own garden, eat fresh produce daily, and get exercise, and no doubt their lifespan will exceed mine. I grew up on pop tarts and mountain dew, fast food, etc, things they never had growing up. Many others in my generation did also and it is bound to catch up to us in the later years.
SkyAbove
3 / 5 (4) Oct 05, 2016
For decades, my wife and I have eaten very well, exercise daily, used no alcohol or cigarettes, and megadose with supplements (my wife takes twice as much). We're now in our early sixties and we have zero aging diseases and no disabilities (knock on wood). My blood and physical tests are almost perfect, and my wife's are perfect! All our many siblings, cousins and friends that did the same us, but didn't megadose with supplements have from two to six aging diseases. I hate to admit it, but megadosing with supplements does seem to slow aging.
dogbert
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 05, 2016
Genesis 6:3

And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.2 / 5 (10) Oct 05, 2016
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
"3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died." Gen5

-You've really got to read the whole thing some time dog.

Re the article, I bought a motorcycle awhile ago that would only do 90mph but then I swapped out the ECU with the governor in it, and put a keihn carb on it, and a k&N filter, and a titanium exhaust, and hotcams, and I could do 110.

I think this is relevant.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (7) Oct 05, 2016
I have read the whole thing.

The verse I quoted was God starting he was reducing our life span to 120 years.
Note that it took a while for that change to be fully implemented.

What you should have noticed is that the conclusion of this study was known thousands of years ago.
dan42day
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 05, 2016
I bought a motorcycle awhile ago that would only do 90mph but then I swapped out the ECU with the governor in it, and put a keihn carb on it, and a k&N filter, and a titanium exhaust, and hotcams, and I could do 110.


Yes, but I'd wager that you decreased, not increased it's lifespan. Cocaine has the same effect on humans.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.4 / 5 (7) Oct 05, 2016
it took awhile
Boy I'll say. Looks like he wasn't able to meet target goals until king David.
http://www.bibles...ood.html

-Wonder why that is? Got to be a reason the supergodman has latency built into his powers.

Perhaps this explains why his 6 day creation actually took 13 billion years. Or why your prayers never really get answered (they kick in long after you're gone and it's too late for you to appreciate them.)(maybe your miracles were actually granted to some long-dead schmuck and they just happened to hit you.)

So why waste time praying?

I'm just rambling on here.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.4 / 5 (7) Oct 05, 2016
What you should have noticed is that the conclusion of this study was known thousands of years ago
But rabbits still don't have cuds and camels don't have hooves. And there never were 2M jews in the land of goshen, and they never travelled through an Egyptian occupied sinai while wearing clothes that lasted 40 years...

... and Joshua never led a genocidal rampage through Egyptian occupied Palestine which never resulted in the destruction of 200 cities, towns, and villages...

... and there never were great solomonic/davidic kingdoms. And Jesus was a blatant copy of perhaps 12 or 14 earlier godmen.

But yeah, maybe the original sin condemned us all to die young and to suffer monthly bloody curses, and turned many peaceful herbivorous species into vicious killers with fangs and claws and specialized digestive systems. And gave the rest horns and shells and stinksacks and quills for protection.

I suppose it's possible.
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (7) Oct 05, 2016
TheGhostofOtto1923,

Your dislike of God is well documented. You are welcome to your opinions.

My post was just to point out that the limit of human life was set early in our history by God to be 120 years. The conclusions of this study don't provide new knowledge, they only confirm what was known for thousands of years.

Angus MacRath
2.3 / 5 (4) Oct 05, 2016
This isn't exactly news. In concept this is just statistically affirming the fact that the telomeres at the maximum length last 120 years as a limiting factor for longevity. Other things could have a much greater negative impact for the average person that would have died by any other type of behavior or malfunction of the person's body contributing to the overall average.
vaire
4 / 5 (8) Oct 05, 2016

My post was just to point out that the limit of human life was set early in our history by God to be 120 years. The conclusions of this study don't provide new knowledge, they only confirm what was known for thousands of years.


Absolutely! Makes you wonder why all those followers of the religion of scientism are wasting their time (and our money!), when all the answers we'll ever need have already been written down in the Good Book.

But above all, it does something that scientism can never do - it teaches us *how* to live, gives us morality and everything we need to know in our daily lives, like how to beat our slaves so that they don't croak and how many shekels to pay for minor peccadillos like rapes and such.
Mark Thomas
4.3 / 5 (11) Oct 05, 2016
dogbert: "the limit of human life was set early in our history by God to be 120 years."

"122-year-old French woman Jeanne Calment, who achieved the maximum documented lifespan of any person in history."

Dogbert, I understood 122 to be greater then 120, so what happened?
greenonions
4.3 / 5 (6) Oct 05, 2016
dogbert
My post was just to point out that the limit of human life was set early in our history by God to be 120 years.


Well that is one reading of the book of myths. Funny how easy it is to make fairy stories say what you want them to say. Others disagree dogbert.

http://www.verseb..._of_life

Homo Sapiens have been around for a couple of hundred thousand years. https://en.wikipe..._sapiens When did God make this determination of 120 years? Didn't Noah live for more than 120 years?
Telekinetic
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 05, 2016
The authors in this article, promoting the antiquated notion of a fixed lifespan are oblivious to the scientific efforts all around them to break the barrier of 100 years. The advent of CRISPR gene editing alone will make dramatic headway. Also, Google with their Calico subsidiary is dedicated to extend lifespan so that all of the Google billionaires will have more time to spend their riches. The SENS Foundation, having raised millions of dollars researching methods to rid human cellular garbage from the body will add decades to lifespan as well as other approaches like drugs that mimic calorie restriction. It is absolutely moronic, backward, and unscientific to suggest that knowledge of life and death will stand still..
rrrander
3 / 5 (2) Oct 05, 2016
Researchers have shown that diet, exercise have little bearing on lifespan. Genetics controls it. However, because people are living longer now, a whole new slew of debilitating conditions are producing a class that cannot even feed itself, the over 80's. And the net result is a massive cost to everyone. They should allow people who know (who are chronically crippled, who have first stage dementia, etc.) they are going to suffer to end their lives. Western population's average age is also rising, with some European countries approaching 40. This is a much less productive population that won't be able to support itself. The world already has one Third World, it doesn't need another.
Bongstar420
4 / 5 (4) Oct 05, 2016
TheGhostofOtto1923,

Your dislike of God is well documented. You are welcome to your opinions.

My post was just to point out that the limit of human life was set early in our history by God to be 120 years. The conclusions of this study don't provide new knowledge, they only confirm what was known for thousands of years.



LOL...Because everything was derp!

Actually its genetic, and will be circumvented shortly. I don't see why anyone would think our current technology increases the absolute maximum lifespan of a human. It merely facilitates you getting closer to your absolute potential. This means you should expect to see more people living to their maximum potential rather than seeing the actual maximum increase in any substantial way. For humans to live longer than currently recorded, multiple genes will need editing and I suspect something has to be done about telomere shortening.
BartV
2 / 5 (4) Oct 06, 2016
Since the 18th/19th centuries average life expectancy has risen, but the maximum duration of life has stayed almost constant. There are many examples of people living into their 90's a long time ago. But with medicine and declining massive wars, average life spans have been dramatically increased in the last 70 years.

It is easy for people to confuse these 2 terms.

LonelyTraveler
4 / 5 (4) Oct 06, 2016
...it teaches us *how* to live, gives us morality and everything we need to know in our daily lives, like how to beat our slaves so that they don't croak and how many shekels to pay for minor peccadillos like rapes and such.


Judging from the pattern in the ratings of each comment (before I added my own weight), the religious folks didn't catch the sarcasm in that last sentence. XD
vaire
3 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2016
Judging from the pattern in the ratings of each comment (before I added my own weight), the religious folks didn't catch the sarcasm in that last sentence. XD


What is this thing sarcasm that you speak of?!

Honestly, all I want is to be able to read a science site without having religious gobshite vomited all over it. I realise they're feeling increasingly threatened as their bronze-age mumbo-jumbo quickly slips ever more into insignificance, but why can't they go light a candle or self-flagellate or something instead!
greenonions
4 / 5 (4) Oct 06, 2016
but why can't they go light a candle or self-flagellate or something instead!
Smile. You have to understand the terrible burden they carry. They are commanded to bring souls to Jesus. If they are not successful - said souls will suffer the eternal punishment - given to them by a god who created them, loves them with all his heart - but has not choice but to banish them to eternal damnation - despite being an all knowing/powerful/loving god. It all makes perfect sense - but is a terrible burden to carry.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (6) Oct 06, 2016
122 is greater than 120
It's a miracle! Saints be praised!
Your dislike of God is well documented
My dislike of sanctified bigotry and ignorance is well documented.
You are welcome to your opinions
My opinions are based on facts. It's my opinion that faith based on fear and wishful thinking can never be good.
My post was just to point out that the limit of human life was set early in our history by God to be 120 years. The conclusions of this study don't provide new knowledge, they only confirm what was known for thousands of years
Ancients began keeping meticulous birth and death records as part of their need to distribute food equitably. But elders already knew full well how long people typically lived, and cleverly wrote yet another tidbit of common knowledge into the book as if it were divine revelation. 'What - that ruin Jericho over there? Yeah, don't you know our god did that?'
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Oct 06, 2016
Wouldn't it be more like 1 in 7.5 billion?

They say
in a given YEAR of seeing one person live to 125 anywhere in the world is less than 1 in 10,000.

Caps mine for emphasis.

And the Lord said...

You should read the bible some day. This lord of yours says all kinds of stupid shit in there.

Dogbert, I understood 122 to be greater then 120, so what happened?

Math. It's a weird thing. But as vaire explained knowing math isn't needed because it's not in dogbert's book.

and I suspect something has to be done about telomere shortening

There are ways to stop that. It has a medical term: cancer.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (6) Oct 06, 2016
Honestly, all I want is to be able to read a science site without having religious gobshite vomited all over it
Religions threaten science and the future of humanity as never before. We welcome the chance to publicly correct religionist disinformation.

vaire
3 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2016
They are commanded to bring souls to Jesus.


Or, you're being too nice and giving them too much credit and in the vast majority of cases it's just them shouting at the top of their voices, trying to drown the doubts and fear in their tiny minds. And because they fail to understand that even if the whole world believes a lie, it still won't make it true.

There was a great article about this kind of thinking and fear: "Either way, the trick with astronomical or cosmological discoveries was to know just enough about them to say "the universe is amazing" while remaining just ignorant enough to say "the universe is a mystery known only to God."

Now, though, I am free. I can look the universe square in the eye, and I don't have to be afraid I might discover something I didn't want to know."
http://www.patheo...anymore/
vaire
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 06, 2016
Religions threaten science and the future of humanity as never before. We welcome the chance to publicly correct religionist disinformation.


Sadly, the ones who shout the loudest rarely learn. I mean, if you can look at an image of several of the billions galaxies out there and still come up with inanities like: "Look all God's wonders, created especially for ME, the pinnacle of Creation", frankly, I don't think there's much hope for you.

Also, I honestly believe it's the other way around - religion is threatened by science and rationality like never before, their vile grip on the world is slipping and there's no going back. Which is why they're scared shitless (would have said "scared witless", but frankly, how would you tell the difference)
EnsignFlandry
3 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2016
Genesis 6:3

And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.


Yeah, well later he changed this to 70 years. So why do we have all these 80 and 90 year-olds running around? Could be your god was created by ancient Hebrews.
dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Oct 06, 2016
EnsignFlandry,

You are wrong, of course. He did not change the limit to 70 years.
Liquid1474
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 06, 2016
Stay away from all GMOs, artificial chemicals and sugars in your food, and basically go organic as much as you can and you'll be fine.

Pesticides and that garbage Monsanto produces are wrecking our bodies and our kids' bodies in ways we won't know till our children are old.
Shootist
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 08, 2016
Stay away from all GMOs, artificial chemicals and sugars in your food, and basically go organic as much as you can and you'll be fine.

Pesticides and that garbage Monsanto produces are wrecking our bodies and our kids' bodies in ways we won't know till our children are old.


LOLOLOL ROTFLMAO whata maroon. you wouldn't know a GMO if it bit you in your algore.
Techguy2396
1 / 5 (1) Oct 08, 2016
There is no argument from me whatsoever, that there is a natural limit. And it may very well have been arrived at through evolution. While old age itself deals with people who are beyond their reproductive years, and hence, is incapable of benefiting them through natural selection, it could indirectly benefit their offspring. It could very well be, that more children survive to become adults - whose grandparents reached a certain age.

Or it could have nothing to do with that.

That being said, there is no reason that a natural limit to lifespan, should impose a limit to unnatural lifespan. There are plenty of things that we do not do naturally - but we do them anyway. We have been to the moon. We have split the atom. In these things and others, we have already exceeded our natural limitations. Perhaps we can do so with the human lifespan as well.

All that this study is telling us, is that the easy things have been done.

Time to buckle down and do the hard things as well.
Rockguy
1 / 5 (1) Oct 09, 2016
This article reminds me of physicists ( early 1900) that claimed there was nothing left to learn in Physics. I think editing DNA is the answer and I have no doubt that some day researchers will figure out how to extend human lifespan well beyond "normal". The real question is: Why are we currently stuck at a maximum of 120. My guess would be that it is damage to DNA from radiation, copy errors etc and having a shorter lifespan may keep mutation rates at a beneficial level.

A. A. Michelson's claim in the 2nd lecture of his 1899 (pub. 1903) lectures Light Waves and Their Uses:[excerpt]:

The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.

source: http://hsm.stacke...t-all-ou

neiorah
3 / 5 (2) Oct 22, 2016
As for the longevity of persons before and after the flood the biblical evidence is clear. Persons before the flood lived up to 9 times longer than they did after the flood. Methuselah lived to 969 years of age. That is the longest lived human in history. I am positive evolutionists will argue with me on that point but they do not matter in the bigger picture. They may not believe in God as a creator but he believes in them and will deal with them in his own way.

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