Biologists questioned the existence of the limit of human life

Observations of the most elderly inhabitants of Italy showed that the probability of their death ceases to grow in the 105th year of life. This suggests that there is no hard limit to the maximum life expectancy.

“As a rule, the chances of dying grow as the person’s age increases and his health deteriorates.” We found that this trend suddenly stops at the 105th year of life – the elderly Italians we watched die equally often at 105 and 110 years old, this idea, the “death plateau”, in the past has caused a lot of criticism, and we proved that it is fair, “- said Kenneth Wachter (Kenneth Wachter) from the University of California at Berkeley (USA).

The typical duration of human life has never been constant – before the birth of civilization it was between 20 and 30 years, and then, as science and medicine developed, it grew steadily. Today in most countries of the world people live more than 60 years, and in Japan and other developed countries with a high quality of life and first-class medicine – over 80.

On the other hand, for many living beings there is a certain maximum age determined by the so-called Gompertz law – upon reaching it most of the animals die of old age, while in others the chances of dying the next year begin to grow exponentially.

In recent years, scientists are actively arguing about whether this is characteristic of a person. In October 2016, American researchers showed that such a maximum age, perhaps, is 100-115 years, which is rather modest by the standards of some biblical characters.

Wohter and his colleagues questioned these conclusions for the simple reason that the authors of the publications used the data collected during the interviews of the elderly themselves, many of whom, as scientists have suggested, tend to either overstate or underestimate their age. Together with a small number of centenarians, this, according to Wohter, has contributed a lot of distortions to the statistics.

Therefore, the Wahter team went the other way – they used the data that the Italian social services collected from the oldest residents of the country from 2009 to 2015. The biological age of all the record holders, according to the biologist, was checked according to documents from the archives of all Italian government bodies.

In total, three years ago in Italy there were almost four thousand people older than 105 years and several tens of thousands of centenarians old and old. The overwhelming majority of them are women – only 463 men managed to reach this honorable mark.

Watching how often the long-livers died, the scientists were surprised to find that the chances of not surviving until the next birthday were the same – about 45-50 percent – at 105 years.

This, in turn, means that the Gompertz law does not work for people – otherwise the probability of death of the oldest inhabitants of Italy would continue to grow, and not stopped at a fixed mark. In other words, there is no limit to life.

Not all scientists agree with such conclusions. Brandon Milhalland, one of the authors of the concept of the limit of human life, believes that even if the data of Wachter and his colleagues are correct, this does not necessarily mean that people can live indefinitely. In this case, the limit of life will simply be much higher than the initial calculations showed.

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