So THAT'S The Oldest A Person Can Live For

Scientists have come up with a number.
Senior man running in city during sunset.
simonkr via Getty Images
Senior man running in city during sunset.

It’s a question most of us have wondered before ― if I behaved absolutely perfectly with regards to my health, what’s the absolute oldest I could live to?

The oldest person ever recorded, Jeanne Calment, died aged 122. But statisticians from Tilburg and Rotterdam’s Erasmus universities, who looked at the age at which 75,000 people in the Netherlands died in the 30 years leading up to 2017, set most of our highest possible age a lot lower.

Cis men and cis women have a different maximum life expectancy

Given a “perfectly-lived” life, the statisticians put cis women’s age “ceiling” at 115.7 years old.

For cis men, however, it was 114.1 years old (still a pretty good innings).

Professor John Einmahl, one of three scientists conducting the study, said that though we tend to live longer now, there seems to be a limit to how long most of us will live for.

“On average, people live longer, but the very oldest among us have not gotten older over the last thirty years,” he explained.

“There is certainly some kind of a wall here. Of course the average life expectancy has increased,” he added. “Nevertheless, the maximum ceiling itself hasn’t changed.”

It’ll be interesting to see how people like Bryan Johnson, the tech billionaire who’s spending untold fortunes on the most high-tech innovations in an attempt to live forever, will hold out against those odds.

US researchers found a similar cap

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine published a paper which set the maximum age as 115 for most of us ― thought of course, they acknowledged outliers like Calment.

They also noted that though we’re all living longer, there does seem to be a “cap” for life expectancy.

“Further progress against infectious and chronic diseases may continue boosting average life expectancy, but not maximum lifespan,” Dr. Vijg, professor and chair of genetics, the Lola and Saul Kramer Chair in Molecular Genetics, and professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Einstein, said.

“While it’s conceivable that therapeutic breakthroughs might extend human longevity beyond the limits we’ve calculated, such advances would need to overwhelm the many genetic variants that appear to collectively determine the human lifespan,” Dr. Vijg added.

“Perhaps resources now being spent to increase lifespan should instead go to lengthening health span — the duration of old age spent in good health.”