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We can’t live longer than 115 years old, scientists say

Researchers claim to have discovered the maximum age ‘ceiling’ for human lifespan.

Despite growing life expectancy because of better nutrition, living conditions and medical care, Dutch scientists say our longevity cannot keep extending forever. 

Women can only live to a maximum of 115.7 years, they said, while men can only hope for 114.1 years at the most. 

The research by statisticians at Tilburg and Rotterdam’s Erasmus universities said however there were still some people who had bent the norm, like French woman Jeanne Calment who died at the ripe old age of 122 years and 164 days in 1997.

The research by statisticians at Tilburg and Rotterdam’s Erasmus universities said women can live to a maximum of 115.7 years, while men can only hope for 114.1 years at the most. However, they did concede that there are exceptions, like Jeanne Calment (pictured), the French woman who died in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days old – the longest life ever recorded

Lifespan is the term used to describe how long an individual lives, while life expectancy is the average duration of life that individuals in an age group can expect to have – a measure of societal wellbeing.

The team mined data over 30 years from some 75,000 Dutch people whose exact ages were recorded at the time of death. 

‘On average, people live longer, but the very oldest among us have not gotten older over the last thirty years,’ Professor John Einmahl said.

‘There is certainly some kind of a wall here. Of course the average life expectancy has increased,’ he said, pointing out the number of people turning 95 in The Netherlands had almost tripled.

‘Nevertheless, the maximum ceiling itself hasn’t changed,’ he said.

The Dutch findings, to be published next month, come in the wake of those by US-based researchers who last year claimed a similar age ceiling.

However, that study by Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York found that exceptionally long-lived individuals were not getting as old as before.

Einmahl and his researchers disputed that, saying their conclusions deduced by using a statistical brand called ‘Extreme Value Theory’, showed almost no fluctuation in maximum lifespan.  

Extreme Value Theory is a brand of statistics that measures data and answers questions at extreme ends of events such as lifespan or disasters.

They claim it provides the most accurate assessment. 

However, scores of other research teams have challenged the idea of a limit so close to 100. 

Earlier this year, another team of Dutch researchers, this time from the University of Groningen, said 125 is achievable by 2070.

They made that judgement based on death probabilities recorded for people up to the age of 109 and extrapolated to older people – a method is criticized by others in the field as vague trajectory.

Meanwhile, a team from McGill University challenge whether there can be any limit on how long people can live.