But getting there is tough.
How long can we live? The limit hasn’t been reached, study finds
The mortality rate flattens among the oldest of the old, a study of elderly Italians concludes, suggesting that the oldest humans have not yet reached the limits of life span.
(Carl Zimmer, New York Times) In Acciaroli, a hamlet in southern Italy, about one-in-60 residents are over the age of 90.
A survey of about 4,000 Italians found that mortality rates in old age plateau around 105, suggesting that the ceiling for human lifespan has not yet been reached.
Since 1900, average life expectancy around the globe has more than doubled, thanks to better public health, sanitation and food supplies.
But a new study of long-lived Italians indicates that we have yet to reach the upper bound of human longevity.
“If there’s a fixed biological limit, we are not close to it,” said Elisabetta Barbi, a demographer at the University of Rome. Dr. Barbi and her colleagues published their research Thursday in the journal Science.
The current record for the longest human life span was set 21 years ago, when Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman, died at the age of 122.
No one has grown older since — as far as scientists know.
In 2016, a team of scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx made the bold claim that Ms. Calment was even more of an outlier than she seemed. They argued that humans have reached a fixed life span limit, which they estimated to be about 115 years.
A number of critics lambasted that research. “The data set was very poor, and the statistics were profoundly flawed,” said Siegfried Hekimi, a biologist at McGill University.