Tag Archives: Aging


A study published online today in Nature by Albert Einstein College of Medicine scientists suggests that it may not be possible to extend the human lifespan beyond the ages already attained by the oldest people on record.

Since the 19th century, average life expectancy has risen almost continuously thanks to improvements in public health, diet, the environment, and other areas. On average, for example, U.S. babies born today can expect to live nearly until age 79 compared with an average life expectancy of only 47 for Americans born in 1900. Since the 1970s, the maximum duration of life—the age of which the oldest people live—has also risen. However, according to the Einstein researchers, this upward arc for maximal lifespan has a ceiling—and we’ve already touched it.

“Demographers, as well as biologists, have contended there is no reason to think that the ongoing increase in maximum lifespan will end soon,” said senior author Jan Vijg, Ph.D., professor, and chair of genetics, the Lola and Saul Kramer Chair in Molecular Genetics, and professor of ophthalmology & visual sciences at Einstein. “But our data strongly suggest that it has already been attained and that this happened in the 1990s.”

Dr. Vijg and his colleagues analyzed data from the Human Mortality Database, which compiles mortality and population data from more than 40 countries. Since 1900, those countries generally show a decline in late-life mortality: The fraction of each birth cohort (i.e., people born in a particular year) who survive to old age (defined as 70 and up) increased with their calendar year of birth, pointing toward a continuing increase in average life expectancy.

Nevertheless, when the researchers looked at survival improvements since 1900 for people aged 100 and above, they found that gains in survival peaked at around 100 and then declined rapidly, regardless of the year people were born. “This finding indicates diminishing gains in reducing late-life mortality and a possible limit to human lifespan,” said Dr. Vijg.

He and his colleagues then looked at “maximum reported age at death” data from the International Database on Longevity. They focused on people verified as living to age 110 or older between 1968 and 2006 in the four countries (the U.S., France, Japan, and the U.K.) with the largest number of long-lived individuals. Age at death for these supercentenarians increased rapidly between the 1970s and early 1990s but reached a plateau around 1995—further evidence for a lifespan limit. This plateau, the researchers note, occurred close to 1997—the year of death of 122-year-old French woman Jeanne Calment, who achieved the maximum documented lifespan of any person in history.

Using maximum-reported-age-at-death data, the Einstein researchers put the average maximum human life span at 115 years—a calculation allowing for record-oldest individuals occasionally living longer or shorter than 115 years. (Jeanne Calment, they concluded, was a statistical outlier.) Finally, the researchers calculated 125 years as the absolute limit of the human lifespan. Expressed another way, this means that the probability in a given year of seeing one person live to 125 anywhere in the world is less than 1 in 10,000.

“Further progress against infectious and chronic diseases may continue boosting average life expectancy, but not maximum lifespan,” said Dr. Vijg. “While it’s conceivable that therapeutic breakthroughs might extend human longevity beyond the limits we’ve calculated, such advances would need to overwhelm the many genetic variants that appear to collectively determine the human lifespan. Perhaps resources now being spent to increase lifespan should instead go to lengthening health span—the duration of an old age spent in good health.”

Explore further:  Global life expectancy up five years since 2000: WHO

More information:  Naturenature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nature19793

Journal reference:  Nature  

Provided by:  Albert Einstein College of Medicine  


images (2)An unhealthy diet and living the life of a coach potato may be making you age faster. Researchers at Mayo Clinic believe there is a link between these modifiable lifestyle factors and the biological processes of aging. In a recent study, researchers demonstrated that a poor diet and lack of exercise accelerated the onset of cellular senescence ( the process of aging) and, in turn, age-related conditions in mice. Results appear in the March issue of Diabetes  (Forliti, 2016).

images (4)Senescent cells contribute to various diseases and conditions joined with age. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging discovered that exercise deters premature senescent cell accumulation and as a prophylactic against the harmful effects of an unhealthy diet including but not limited to deficits in physical, heart, and metabolic function, equal to diabetes.

Nathan K. LeBrasseur, M.S., Ph.D.
Nathan K. LeBrasseur, M.S., Ph.D.

“We think at both a biological level and a clinical level, poor nutrition choices and inactive lifestyles do accelerate aging,” says Nathan LeBrasseur, Ph.D., director of the Center on Aging’s Healthy and Independent Living Program and senior author of the study. “So now we’ve shown this in very fine detail at a cellular level, and we can see it clinically. And people need to remember that even though you don’t have the diagnosis of diabetes or the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease today when you’re in midlife, the biology underlying those processes is hard at work.”

Junk_food_2While the deleterious effects of the fast-food diet were readily apparent, researchers found noticeable health improvements after the mice began to exercise. Half the mice, among which were on both healthful and unhealthful diets, were given exercise wheels. The mice that ate a fast food diet but exercised displayed suppression in body weight gain and fat mass accumulation; they were protected against the buildup of senescent cells. The mice petit healthful, normal diet also benefited from exercise.

MULTIMEDIA ALERT: Video is available for download on the Mayo Clinic News Network. https://youtu.be/SRqmxfwf9aI

“Some of us believe that aging is just something that happens to all of us and it’s just a predestined fate, and by the time I turn 65 or 70 or 80, I will have Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis,” says Dr. LeBrasseur. “And this clearly shows the importance of modifiable factors so healthy diet, and even more so, just the importance of regular physical activity. So that doesn’t mean that we need to be marathon runners, but we need to find ways to increase our habitual activity levels to stay healthy and prevent processes that drive aging and aging-related diseases.”

The research was supported by the Paul F. Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, the National Institutes of Health, the Pritzker Foundation, and Robert and Arlene Kogod.

Others on the research team include Marissa Schafer, Ph.D.; Thomas White, Ph.D.; Glenda Evans; Jason Tonne; Grace Verzosa, M.D.; Michael Stout, Ph.D.; Daniel Mazula; Allyson Palmer; Darren Baker, Ph.D.; Michael Jensen, M.D.; Michael Torbenson, M.D.; Jordan Miller, Ph.D.; Yasuhiro Ikeda, Ph.D.; Tamar Tchkonia. Ph.D.; Jan van Deursen, Ph.D.; James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., all of Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic and Dr. Tchkonia, Palmer, Dr. Kirkland and Dr. LeBrasseur have a financial interest related to this research.



Forliti, M. (2016, March 16). Poor Diet, Lack of Exercise Accelerate Onset of Age-Related Conditions in Mice. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from Mayo Clinic News Network: http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/poor-diet-and-lack-of-exercise-accelerate-the-onset-of-age-related-conditions-in-mice/


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