The Human Lifespan Has Reached Its Limit, Says New Report

Living beyond the age of 125 would require 'other scientific interventions,' which are constrained by human genetics, according to research published in the journal Nature.

Elderly people in Japan exercising with wooden dumbbells.
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Humans have reached the limit of their longevity and will not live longer than they do today, according to a research report published in the journal Nature.

Published on Wednesday, the report says that life expectancy is highly unlikely to rise beyond its current level, despite being dramatically higher than it was 100 years ago.

The probability of anyone living for more than 125 years is miniscule, the report says. The oldest documented person to have ever lived was Jeanne Calment, of France, who died in 1997 at the age of 122.

The research was conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York by geneticist Jan Vijg  and several graduates, who analyzed aging trends in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Japan.

The data strongly suggests that the maximum lifespan has "already been attained and that this happened in the 1990s," the college said in a statement.

Extending human lifespan beyond 125 years would require other scientific interventions, beyond improving someone's health, according to the report.

"Although there is no scientific reason why such efforts could not be successful, the possibility is essentially constrained by the myriad of genetic variants that collectively determine species-specific lifespan," it said.

CNN reported that not all the report's conclusions were accepted by other scientists.

"The conditions in 1916 were completely different than those faced by babies being born now," said Professor Dame Linda Partridge, director of the UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing.

"There were loads of infectious diseases, there was war, the quality of food wasn't good – you can go on and on. "So we can't really project (the lifespan of) babies who are being born right now."

Alex Zhavoronkov, director of the UK-based Biogerontology Research Foundation, agreed the report was "scientifically sound," but said that "there is every reason to believe that with more serious interventions into the biology of aging, we can live substantially longer."