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Humans may live up to 150 years if accidents and fatal diseases are taken away, study says

The research findings published in the journal Nature Communications on May 25, explained that even if obvious hazards do not take one’s life, the eventual loss of resilience will kill them after a point of time.

May 27, 2021 / 07:42 PM IST

Immortality sure is a pipe dream but living close to one and half centuries may be a possibility for humans, new research has suggested.

According to a report by Scientific American, researchers have been trying to find out how long humans can live if they do not contract any fatal disease, die in an accident, or anything else that cuts short our lives prematurely. They suggested that the maximum life span for human beings hovers somewhere between 120 and 150 years, considering the person goes through life with minimum stressors.

No one can live longer than 150 years because the human body’s capacity to restore equilibrium to its many structural and metabolic systems wanes away with time. The research findings published in the journal Nature Communications on May 25, explained that even if obvious hazards do not take one’s life, the eventual loss of resilience does.

Heather Whitson, Director, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University, said: “They are asking the question of ‘What’s the longest life that could be lived by a human complex system if everything else went really well, and it’s in a stressor-free environment?’ The team’s results point to an underlying pace of aging that sets the limits on lifespan.”

How did the researchers arrive at the magic number of 150?

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Timothy Pyrkov, one of the researchers, studied the “pace of aging” in three large cohorts across three nations – the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia. They keenly observed changes in blood cell count and the daily number of steps taken to find out deviations from stable health. This was then analysed separately for different age groups.

The researchers found that due to factors beyond diseases, both blood cell count and step count suffered as age progressed.

Pyrkov and his colleagues used this predictable pace of decline to find out when the body’s resilience can disappear completely and kill them person; they arrived at a range of 120 to 150 years.

He said: “We observed a steep turn at about the age of 35 to 40 years that was quite surprising. For example, this period is often a time when an athlete’s sports career ends, an indication that something in physiology may really be changing at this age.”

The researchers’ conclusion suggests that treating diseases will not be the answer to impeding the process of aging. Similarly, since biological processes of aging will continue no matter what, living a long life may mean living a frail life (after a point).



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first published: May 27, 2021 07:41 pm
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