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How Long Can A Person Really Live?

While some scientists argue that there is a natural limit on human lifespan, others maintain there is no cap.

SCIENCE DAILY – The number of people who live past the age of 100 has been on the rise for decades, up to nearly half a million people worldwide.

There are, however, far fewer “supercentenarians,” people who live to age 110 or even longer.

The oldest living person, Jeanne Calment of France, was 122 when she died in 1997; currently, the world’s oldest person is 118-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan.

Such extreme longevity, according to new research by the University of Washington, likely will continue to rise slowly by the end of this century, and estimates show that a lifespan of 125 years, or even 130 years, is possible.

“People are fascinated by the extremes of humanity, whether it’s going to the moon, how fast someone can run in the Olympics, or even how long someone can live,” said lead author Michael Pearce, a UW doctoral student in statistics.

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“With this work, we quantify how likely we believe it is that some individual will reach various extreme ages this century.”

Longevity has ramifications for government and economic policies, as well as individuals’ own health care and lifestyle decisions, rendering what’s probable, or even possible, relevant at all levels of society.

The new study, published June 30 in Demographic Research, uses statistical modeling to examine the extremes of human life.

With ongoing research into aging, the prospects of future medical and scientific discoveries and the relatively small number of people to have verifiably reached age 110 or older, experts have debated the possible limits to what is referred to as the maximum reported age at death.

While some scientists argue that disease and basic cell deterioration lead to a natural limit on human lifespan, others maintain there is no cap, as evidenced by record-breaking supercentenarians.

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Pearce and Adrian Raftery, a professor of sociology and of statistics at the UW, took a different approach … Click here to read more. 

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