Global life expectancy rates continue to rise, which poses the question: will the trend ever stop? New research reports there’s no sign of a fixed age limit for the human body, with human beings set to keep living longer and longer.
That’s based on a study of the lifespans of the longest-living individuals from the US, the UK, France and Japan for every year since 1968.
The new paper, written by a team from McGill University in Canada, is partly a response to an analysis published last year that suggested there was a natural limit to the human lifespan, even if we might find ways to break through it.
“We just don’t know what the age limit might be,” says one of the researchers, biologist Siegfried Hekimi. “In fact, by extending trend lines, we can show that maximum and average lifespans could continue to increase far into the foreseeable future.”
If the same number crunching method had been applied in 1980, they say, it would have shown a plateau of 111 years or so. In other words, even though this type of statistical analysis suggests a levelling off, the top figure continues to rise.
It’s all to do with how the numbers are interpreted, and don’t forget these researchers are dealing with the outliers in the statistics – not many of us live to 111 or 115.
Hekimi thinks it’s possible that humans could live to 150 years or beyond one day, perhaps with new breakthroughs in science or medical treatments to help us along.