Researchers determined that there is no evidence suggesting that there’s a limit for human age; and if it were to exist, it is yet to be identified. The study is a result of analyzing the lives of the longest-living people from the US, UK, France, and Japan since 1968.

The authors at the McGill University reflect on a 2016 study suggesting that human age peaks at 114.5, claiming that there’s no biological evidence to sustain that limit.

Jeanne Louise Calment, who died at 122 years of age. Image Credit:
Jeanne Louise Calment, who died at 122 years of age. Image Credit:

They suggest that average lifespans could easily continue to increase in the future, noting that in 1920, the average Canadian would live up to 60 years, one born in 1980 would live around 76 years, and one born today should live no less than 82 years.

There’s no evidence that life expectancy will stop increasing

Researchers Bryan G. Hughes and Siegfried Hekimi state that according to their findings, it might be impossible to predict the evolution of expected lifespans in humans. The reason is that they cannot take into account all technological advances and state-of-the-art medical interventions that could increase the age limit.

Hekimi suggests that hundreds of years ago, people might have never believed that humans could live up to 100 years old. The oldest person to ever live was Jeanne Louise Calment, who died at 122 in 1997.

“We just don’t know what the age limit might be. In fact, by extending trend lines, we can show that maximum and average lifespans, could continue to increase far into the foreseeable future,” stated Hekimi.

The 2016 research used data from 41 different countries to determine that life expectancy increased significantly over the last 100 years. The increase is mainly due to significant advances in maternity care, antibiotics, vaccines, and better healthcare on a global scale.

Researchers in the 2016 study claim that for the “oldest old people” it is much harder to reduce their mortality rates. They also used data from the US, UK, France, and Japan, whose populations can reach the age of 110, earning the name “supercentenarians.” They determined that the chance of ever seeing a 125-year old is 1 in a 10,000.

“If you die from heart disease at 70, then the rest of your body might still be in relatively good health. So, a medical intervention to overcome heart disease can significantly prolong your lifespan. However, in centenarians not just the heart, but all bodily systems, have become aged and frail. If you do not die from heart disease, you die from something else,” stated Henne Holstege from Amsterdam, who studied Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, who died at 115, suggesting that there had to be a “wall of mortality” that’s unavoidable by modern science.

According to the United Nations, by 2012 there were around 316,000 living supercentenarians, and that number might rise to over three million by 2050 due to impending technological advances.

The key to immortality may be technology

Many research disciplines focus on the search for immortality, with tech billionaires from Google, Oracle, and Paypal providing funds towards this. Google co-founder Sergey Brin donated $50 million to find the cure to diseases that come with age and Oracle’s founder Larry Ellison provides $45 million each year to “solve the problem of aging” according to Telegraph.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has invested at least $730 million in creating life-extending products, including treatments for age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Scientist, author, and inventor Ray Kurzweil assures that the way we’ll achieve immortality is by reaching singularity with machines. He wrote his theories on “The Singularity Is Near,” explaining how he managed to reprogram his organism after being diagnosed with an early form of type 2 diabetes. Kurzweil developed an extreme regimen of chemical treatments, green tea, pills, and red wine to make his body resistant to glucose.

Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns. Image Credit: TIME
Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns. Image Credit: TIME

In his book, Kurzweil reveals how he lowered his cholesterol level from over 200 down to 130, and that all of his risk indexes, including heart disease and diabetes, went down to ideal levels. Later, he would go on to say that in 15 years, health care technology would evolve in such a way to allow people to add years to their life expectancy.

“We will get to a point 15 years from now where, according to my models, we will be adding more than a year every year to your remaining life expectancy, where the sands of time are running in rather than running out, where your remaining life expectancy actually stretches out as time goes by,” stated Kurzweil in 2013.

Kurzweil talks about the Law of Accelerating Returns, which predicts how information technology will evolve dramatically as years pass and more tools become available.

“Information defines your personality, your memories, your skills. And it really is information. And we ultimately will be able to capture that and actually recreate it. So then we will back ourselves up. People a hundred years from now will think it pretty amazing. People actually went through the day without backing up their mind file?”

You can read the full transcript of the interview here.

Source: EurekAlert