Human life expectancy may not exceed 115 years, US scientists say

Masa Narita, who turned 100 years old on February 7, 2014, gets her hair set by a hairdresser at a beauty salon near her house on February 12, 2014 in Osaka, Japan. Credit: YURIKO NAKAO Getty Images
Masa Narita, who turned 100 years old on February 7, 2014, gets her hair set by a hairdresser at a beauty salon near her house on February 12, 2014 in Osaka, Japan. Credit: YURIKO NAKAO Getty Images

Human life spans may be limited to a maximum of about 115 years, claim US scientists.

Their conclusions, published in the journal Nature, were made by analysing decades of data on human longevity.

They said a rare few may live longer, but the odds were so poor you’d have to scour 10,000 planet Earths to find just one 125-year-old.

But while some scientists have praised the study, others have labelled it a dismal travesty.

Life expectancy has been increasing relentlessly since the nineteenth century – due to vaccines, safer childbirth and tackling killers like cancer and heart disease.

The team in New York analysed data from the Human Mortality Database and the deaths of super-centenarians (those over 110) in France, Japan, UK and US.

The data showed increases in life expectancy were slowing in centenarians and that the maximum age of death had plateaued for at least two decades.

Prof Jan Vijg, one of the researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told the BBC News website: “In people over 105 we make very little progress, that tells you we are most likely approaching the limit to human life.

“For the first time in history we’ve been able to see this, it looks like the maximum life span – this ceiling, this barrier – is about 115.

“It’s almost impossible you’ll get beyond it. You need 10,000 worlds like ours to end up with one individual in a given year who will live until 125 – so a very small chance.”

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