A study has found that the natural limit to human life is no more than 125 years.
A Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment has the longest confirmed human lifespan on record, living to the age of 122 years and 164 days.
The researchers led by Jan Vijg of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, investigated whether the rise in human lifespans meant the 122 lifespan was a maximum.
The research team reportedly studied the International Database on Longevity, which records the age of death from people in 41 countries between 1968 and 2006.
Their finding was that people do keep living longer – but only up to a point.
“The rate of improvement in survival peaks and then declines for very old age levels which points towards diminishing gains in reduction of late-life mortality and a possible limit to human lifespan.’
‘In contrast to previous suggestions that human longevity can be extended ever further, our data strongly suggest that the duration of life is limited,’ the researchers wrote in Nature.
They said despite the huge improvements in life expectancy seen in the past 150 years, ‘improvements in survival with age tend to decline after age 100,’ and that the age at death of the world’s oldest person has not increased since the 1990s.
They estimate 125 as an upper limit: but stress it would be rare.
They estimate the chance of anyone living longer than Jeanne Calment, and recording a maximum age of 125 for any given year would be once in 10,000 years.
Mrs. Calment, the oldest documented human to ever live only gave up cycling when she was 100, and smoked two cigarettes a day. She reportedly gave up smoking five years before her death.