What is the highest expected human life expectancy?

Calment celebrating her 121st birthday in 1996

In 1997 Jeanne Calment, the longest living human on record, died at the age of 122.  With technology constantly improving and humans now having a better understanding of nutrition, the science community examined whether life expectancy could increase.

Professor Jan Vijg and his colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, examined international databases and estimated that the limit for life expectancy is in fact 115 years. Why? Well, Vijg’s argument is that if life expectancy is increasing then there should be more records of people living to the same age as Jeanne Calment. He also argues, that when researchers looked at the maximum reported age of death, the average life expectancy plateaued around the 1990’s.

Many Scientists, such as Björn Lindgren, argue against this limit and state that the increased progress in the understanding and technology of combating infectious and chronic diseases could exceed the predicted human life span limit. Researchers at the moment are particularly interested in observing the life expectancy of people who live in Japan, as it currently has the world’s highest life expectancy.

Vijg on the other hand, states that “therapeutic breakthroughs might extend longevity however such advances would need to overwhelm the many genetic variations that appear to determine lifespan.”

What are your views? Do you agree with the evidence put forward by Vijg? Leave your opinions in the comments or to read more check out the original Nature paper titled “Evidence for a Limit to Human Lifespan.”

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Krystal Douglas

Krystal Douglas is a Chemistry and Biology graduate who enjoys blogging in her spare time.

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