While human life expectancy has been rising for decades in most countries, the record for the longest-living person is not rising – but that may be about to change.
Using a new way of analyzing mortality records, data from 19 high-income countries show that we have not yet reached the maximum human lifespan and that record increases may begin in the next few decades. “At the moment we are not reaching the maximum limit,” says the study’s lead researcher. David McCarthy at the University of Georgia in Athens.
The longest-living person recorded in history is Jean Calment, who died at the age of 122, although doubts have recently been raised about his authenticity.
Since Calment’s death in 1997, the record for oldest living person has been held by people between the ages of 110 and 120 — and it hasn’t moved upward over time. This has led scientists like jaan vizag at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York to conclude that there is probably a biological limit on the maximum human lifespan, which he places at around 115 years old.
But the latest findings suggest that the maximum human lifespan may soon begin to increase as people born in the first few decades of the 20th century reach much older ages.
McCarthy’s team came to this conclusion after studying the ages of death of people in various countries in Europe as well as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. human mortality databaseA record of global birth and death statistics.
The researchers looked at the age of death in groups of people born in the same year. Most previous studies have grouped people by the year they died, but this can obscure trends because it mixes people with different lifespans, McCarthy says.
Analysis by year of birth found that groups born after about 1910 had an increased risk of dying in any year as they got older but to a lesser extent than those born earlier. . This suggests that the world record for longest-living individual will increase in the coming decades as living members of these groups reach advanced old age, McCarthy says.
For example, someone born in 1910 hasn’t had a chance to reach 120 years yet, as they will only reach that age in 2030.
People in these birth groups have benefited from improvements in medicine since the end of World War II, says McCarthy. We can’t predict how long this trend may continue with studies like this one, he says.
Vizag, however, says the analysis rests on an assumption — that the risk of death per year, which increases exponentially with age for most of our lives, begins to stabilize after people reach 105. This notion is not universally accepted, he says.
But kare christensen at the University of Southern Denmark says there is good support from Previous studies for this assumption, “A lot of these projects rely on models that predict what will happen in the future,” he says. “No one knows the truth.”