Human life expectancy may max out at 115, study finds

Jeanne Calment, thought to be the world's longest living individual, passed away in 1997 at the age of 122 after outliving both her daughter and grandson by decades.

Although advances in the medical world have significantly increased the human life span, a new study published in Nature suggests humans do have a "fixed shelf life," and that Ms. Calment is likely an exception to the human life span.

Jan Vijg, PhD, a geneticist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and his colleagues analyzed data from the Human Mortality Database, which contains mortality statistics for 38 countries. They found that people steadily lived longer lives throughout the early 20th century, until lifespan plateaued at about 99 years in 1980. Since then, the age has increased by a very small amount, according to the report.

When researchers looked at the International Database on Longevity, they discovered that the age of the oldest person to die in a given year in France, Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. increased rapidly from the 1970s and early 1990s before plateauing in the mid-1990s at 114.9 years, the report said.

Dr. Vijg and his team concluded that the human lifespan is naturally limited to about 115 years. While there will always be occasional outliers like Ms. Calment, he calculates the probability of a person living over 125 years to less than 1 in 10,000.

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