On this hopeful episode of Lifespan News, Ryan O’Shea discusses the odds of any individual living to 130, even in the absence of rejuvenation biotechnology.
Could humans live forever? It’s theoretically possible, according to a new study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal.
Debate has raged in the scientific community about whether or not there is an unlimited non-augmented human lifespan. For many, the belief was “yes, there’s a limit to human lifespan, and we’ve already reached it.” But a new analysis is calling that thinking into question.
According to the researchers, it’s possible for humans to live 130 years or perhaps longer even without intervention to extend lifespan.
The study analyzed data featuring Italian and French semi-supercentenarians, or people aged at least 105 years old. They discovered that, while the likelihood of death increases with every year past childhood, it plateaus at about 50% by the time people have neared supercentenarian status, around 110 years old. This means that for every year past 110, your likelihood of surviving another year essentially comes down to a coin toss.
They went on to say that if there was a limit to lifespan below 130 years old, it should have been visible in the data, and it was not. And, extrapolating from this data, it’s reasonable to believe that there could be no limit to human lifespan.
That’s the good news. The bad news – it’s extremely unlikely that many people will reach these high ages without making use of life extension science. To put it into perspective, if your chance of dying every year after age 110 come down to a coin toss, then living to 130 would be like a coin toss coming up “heads” 20 times in a row. That’s less than one in a million odds, and that’s after someone already defied the odds to become a supercentenarian. While it’s unlikely that many people will reach this age without life-extending intervention, we could certainly see it happen.
Does this research finally settle the debate on the limits of human lifespan? Probably not. New findings could once again indicate that there is, in fact, a limit. And while I certainly hope that there is no limit, if there is one, I want to know about it, so I welcome that science and continued work in this area.
However, the important thing to keep in mind is that life extension science could make this entire debate irrelevant. If we’re able to stop or reverse the debilitating effects of aging, and it appears that this is possible, we can circumvent any limits that may otherwise exist. This is why supporting life extension science is so important, and why we encourage you to subscribe to this channel and help spread the word. Together, we can end the debate on lifespan limits for good.