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115 might be as old as we can get thanks to our bodies’ limits

Maximum lifespan is not rising in step with average lifespan. It could be that the human body has innate limits that prevent most getting any older than 115.

OUR life expectancy has been climbing for decades – but how much further can we push it?

The maximum lifespan for most people may be around 115, because of the innate limits of the human body, according to new research. The few who have gone beyond this age are rare outliers, says Jan Vijg of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

By analysing demographic records, Vijg’s team has found that maximum lifespan has not been rising in step with the average lifespan. The record for the oldest living person climbed to around 115 in the 1990s, after which it has broadly plateaued.

Although Jeanne Calment, a French supercentenarian who has the longest confirmed human lifespan on record, reached 122 before she died in 1997, her record has gone unbroken for nearly two decades. It shows we are not seeing increasing numbers breaking the 115 barrier, says Vijg. “115 is like a borderline – you can’t cross that unless you’re an exceptional individual.”

For the full article please visit the New Scientist website.

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