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How long do we live today?
People today are getting older. But how old can we get to the maximum? Researchers have now found that we humans do not seem to have reached our final lifespan.
Scientists at Sapienza University of Rome and UC Berkeley found in their current study that humans still haven't reached their final lifespan. In the future, people will probably get even older. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Science".
What is the risk of dying in old age?
For the current study, the so-called immediate risk of death was examined. The experts found that the immediate risk of death begins to decrease after the age of 80. The researchers found this in a study of 4,000 subjects from the USA and Italy. After a person reaches the age of 105, the risk of death remains at a level, which means that the probability of experiencing at least 110 years is significantly increased, the experts explain.
What does longer life expectancy do?
If people were born before 1910, they were very unlikely to reach over 96 years of age. Nowadays, the chances for people over the age of 96 are much greater. While our increasing longevity is often attributed to advances in medicine, the experts who conducted the study believe that this is only evidence that people develop through natural selection and that people will get much older in the future.
So far, there doesn't seem to be a fixed limit on life expectancy in sight
The latest research suggests that human life expectancy is still increasing and people who are 105 years old have a good chance of surviving at least another five years. The data from the study show us that there is still no fixed limit for the human lifespan in sight, study author Professor Kenneth Wachter from UC Berkeley explains in a press release.
Experts examined 3,836 Italians for the study
Of course, the study is controversial. For years, demographers have not been in agreement whether the death rate actually increases steadily with age or weakens at a certain point, as is the case with laboratory animals such as fruit flies and worms. The current investigation is hailed as one of the most comprehensive studies dealing with life expectancy and death risks. For their study, the researchers examined the data from 3,836 Italians (3,373 women and 463 men) who were born between 1896 and 1910 and reached the impressive age of 105 years. Unlike most other countries, Italy (which has the second highest number of centenarians in the world after Japan) requires citizens to report on their wellbeing annually.
From 110 years of age the risk of dying reaches a plateau
The study showed that people aged 105 to 109 had only a 50 percent chance of dying within a year. A further lifespan of at least 1.5 years could be expected, the doctors say. The scientists were amazed to find that the exact same statistics applied to 110-year-olds, suggesting that the risk of death no longer increased. This is a clear indication that people develop in such a way that they have an even longer average lifespan, the authors explain.
Results have been questioned by critics
Of course, the results have been questioned by some experts who believe that there is a limit to human life. For example, a study published in 2016 came to the conclusion that we have already reached our maximum lifespan. (as)