How long will people be able to live in the future?
The maximum human life expectancy is a figure that never ceases to increase. But is there a limit? According to this new study, if it exists, then we haven't reached it yet.
Human life expectancy has increased significantly over the past few years. But have we reached the limit? According to a statistical study just published in PLOS One, if this limit exists, then we have not yet reached it.
In fact, they calculated that, based on the trends of past decades, it is possible that this lifespan limit could be reached by 2060. However, it is not known how many years it will be.
The current record holder at the oldest age is Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122. He fenced until age 86 and rode a bicycle until age 100, walked without a cane until age 114 and, incredibly, gave up the bad habit at 117. This is one of the most interesting cases. However, for the authors of this new study, the record could be well beyond their age. Who will be next? We'll have to wait to find out.
Life expectancy in the world has changed a lot over the years. It is estimated that during the Paleolithic era, people lived an average of 22 to 33 years, while the longest lived barely exceeded 50.
Later, each culture with different scientific achievements, as well as different susceptibility to disease and sanitation, had its own lifespan. However, in general, it was about the same figures, while the average value usually did not exceed 30 years. The big leap came at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the world average was between 50 and 65 years old. People around the world currently live on average between 70 and 73 years of age. However, there are big differences between countries.
There are more and more older people. They often live in the countryside. This suggests that lifestyle has a lot to do with it. But, logically, so is progress in health care. Many previously fatal diseases are easily cured today. However, there are still some that defy science.
We don't know the limit yet
The published study is purely statistical in origin. In essence, it was analyzed how life expectancy in the world has changed over the past decades to see if we have reached the limit. However, it doesn't look like it.
According to the analysis, some people born before 1950 could break life expectancy records in the coming decades. Although for this it is necessary that their health be guaranteed by political and economic stability. This is important because advances in medicine alone are not enough. If, for example, a country makes it difficult for its entire population to access public health, it will be much harder for that population to age in a healthy way.
So, where and for how long will the next record be set? Scientists don't know this. They believe it is someone born between 1930 and 1940. And they know that Japanese women, the longest-lived women in the world, are excellent candidates. But this cannot be guaranteed.
On the other hand, like IFLScience, a study was published in 2021 that actually attempted to come up with a figure. Based only on the parameters of health and leaving aside statistics, its authors concluded that the life expectancy of a person could not possibly exceed 150 years. It's a generous boost, given that the case of Jeanne Calment is truly unusual. However, there is another stream of scientists who are ready to go further and believe that thanks to the achievements of science and technology, it is probably possible to live forever. This is the most utopian hypothesis in today's media.