Human Life Has Its Limits

Just how long can a human live? There seems to be a limit; right now the oldest person is 122 years old. Human life expectancies have risen, but there is a boundary, or so it seems. Latest research suggests there may be a limit to our life span and without some type of breakthrough that fixes all age-related problems, the life span is hard to extend. Jan Vijg, a geneticist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York is quoted: “It seems extremely difficult if not impossible to break through that ceiling due to the complexity of the aging process.” Improvements in medical care and sanitation in the last century have improved life expectancies in many countries. The maximum age of death has also increased. Researchers calculate that the human life span likely maxes out at 115 years. One goal is to eventually find treatments that might slow the aging process in humans and keep them healthier longer, thus improving human life expectancies. A longevity researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago, S. Jay Olshansky, reported that it remains to be seen just how much further life span can be stretched with technology. “If we succeed, current limits are likely to be broken. How much they are broken depends on the nature of the breakthrough,” he said. Genes have something to do with lifespan but so does lifestyle and perhaps technology. Studies of centenarians indicate that lifestyle choices play a bigger role than genetics in their longevity and most were able to delay disease and disability until late in life. Among supercentenarians, people who survive to 110 years old or longer, genes are key. Dr. Thomas Perls, professor of geriatrics at Boston University who heads the New England Centenarian Study suggests that instead of searching for an anti-aging pill, people should focus on eating better and exercising to stay healthy in their twilight years. From: Marietta Daily Journal, Oct. 6, 2016.

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