Will humans be able to live up to 120 years of age?

  • #1
<mentor note: moved to General Discussion>
Will humans be able to live up to 120 years of age?

I mean one day in the future will some scientific advancement allow most if not all of us to live till ~120 in decent health? Disregarding things such as accidents, viruses such as Covid.

Thanks
 
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  • #2
jim mcnamara
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Some people have lived up to and past that age see link below.

In general longevity is associated with income, access to resources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4866586/
The reason(s) is not clear.
Physicians expect very well off patients to do much better, for example.

People have lived past 120 years: Marie Calment died at age 122
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_people

Speaking as a population biologist, somehow elevating the average age at death world-wide by 30 years would likely be limited by resources such as energy, food and water.

Very simplified example:
let's pretend we have a world-wide life expectancy of 70, with 8 billion people. 70 * 8 = 560 billion life years. Let's make it 100 year life expectancy.

100 * 8 is 800 billion life years. That means with our current birth trends we would get 800/560 = ~11.6 billion people, a 42% increase. It would be higher in fact, the math is not fully correct, but this is just to give you an idea. Land use would have to change radically.

This is more of a 'what if' question, so it belongs in General Discussion.
 
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  • #3
gleem
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Life expectancy is the result of all factors that contribute to death at all ages. If we could prevent childhood accidents we could significantly raise it. The 120 + year observed so far as a maximum, probably is a maximum for humans with the best genes and protected from all other causes of injury by luck and good life choices. They are basically outliers. Can life expectancy be increased? Yes of course but it will not be close to 120. At any age the older you are the longer you will live. In the US if you are born today you will live to be about 76.3 (Male) and 81.4 (Female). I being 79 without consideration of life choices etc have 50/50 chance of living for more than 10 years. However taking background, lifestyle, current health, etc into effect I am projected to live until 96 based on actuarial data.

I would say that life expectancy is heavily dependent on lifestyle choices, as diet, physical activity, recreation etc. as well as genetic predispositions. If you could correct the genetic issues you still have the issue that we are biological machines subject to deterioration which starts at about the age of 30 or so very slowly but then picking up speed until about 55 when significant changes begin. It seems that there are chemical battles continually going on in your body with free radicals attacking your DNA and our biochemical machinery having various "monkey wrenches" thrown in from diet and our environment.

One thing to think about is that the young are the healthiest maybe with the best genes and yet those are the humans that make the worst life choices and those are the ones we send off to war. This may be a factor in our not evolving into a species with a longer lifespan.

It seems like extending life expectancy is as much up to us as anything.
 
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  • #4
DennisN
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One thing to think about is that the young are the healthiest maybe with the best genes and yet those are the humans that make the worst life choices and those are the ones we send off to war. This may be a factor in our not evolving into a species with a longer lifespan.
Very interesting thought, I've never thought about that.
 
  • #5
jim mcnamara
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@gleem - you're referring to a Type I survivorship curves. And you are correct in explaining that decreased infant mortality decreases ( or shifts the curves) - which is an increase in life expectancy. Really the average age at death.

Where I think you are off a little is this: infant mortality has gone down since 1950, but average age at death
has risen differentially. Over time and between low cost and high cost. And the values are different:

High Cost versus Low Cost refers to lifetime income SS taxes. This data show lifetime income versus expected time to receive benefits after age 65.
Here is a Social Security Actuarial table.


https://www.ssa.gov/oact/TR/2011/lr5a4.html
high cost = more lifetime income

Take away:
Lifetime income is associated strongly with these life expectancy and after age 65 numbers. This table is the additional years after age 65 that a person is expected to receive benefits plus the average age at death for both age 0 and age 65 (the small number of years of expected benefits) - both are
associated with income.
 
  • #6
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Here is a Social Security Actuarial table.


https://www.ssa.gov/oact/TR/2011/lr5a4.html
high cost = more lifetime income

Also the growth in life expectancy of all groups of 65 year-olds has been slowing. There was a major, one-time improvement over this time period with better treatment for the big killers - heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. along with a decline in smoking. These made a dramatic improvement but further advances may make only marginal improvements.
 
  • #7
gleem
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Lifetime income is associated strongly with these life expectancy and after age 65 numbers.

Just making more money doesn't make you healthier. It is how you spend it and the resources available to spend it on.

The poorest nations have the lowest life expectancy. Income determines your diet and where you live (near a dirty factory or in a clean tranquil suburb). Consider that after the war and with everything settling in more people could afford more and better health care. Large corporations began providing higher wages and health insurance for their employees. With Medicare, it was even more enhanced helping to make more people health aware. But note in the cited SS table although the life expectance from birth increased with year born you do not see any difference in life expectancy after 65 until about 1988, 13 years after the Medicare Act about the time when retirees would be hitting that point where sickness and poor health begin to take its toll. Couldn't income contribute to the infant and childhood death rates being higher in the low-income cohort? The childhood death rate dropped precipitously from 1920 (185/1000 births) to 1950 (40/1000) births over 30 years, Since then it has dropped 39/1000 births over 70 years. But this seems too small to show much of an effect for us older people.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1041693/united-states-all-time-child-mortality-rate/

If my memory serves me it seems the life expectancy dropped last year 0.1 yrs due to the opioid crisis and might again this year due to Covid.
 
  • #8
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<mentor note: moved to General Discussion>
Will humans be able to live up to 120 years of age?

I mean one day in the future will some scientific advancement allow most if not all of us to live till ~120 in decent health? Disregarding things such as accidents, viruses such as Covid.

Thanks

If we can solve the problem why cells age. We may live more than that or even indefinitely.
 
  • #9
gleem
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If we can solve the problem why cells age. We may live more than that or even indefinitel

Aging is not really an appropriate term for their declining vitality. I think degrading is better. They fail to maintain their status quo. Our bodies are continually bombarded with toxic materials from our diet and the environment, as well as an inherent decline in the complex multifaceted ability to remain stable over an extended period of time, think about the second law of thermodynamics. Can we forestall this decline, probably to some extent? I do not think this can be done indefinitely.

What purpose would be served if we could live indefinitely? There are many social, ethical and psychological issues that must be considered. I think we do our best when we have deadlines to observe.
 
  • #10
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Aging is not really an appropriate term for their declining vitality. I think degrading is better. They fail to maintain their status quo. Our bodies are continually bombarded with toxic materials from our diet and the environment, as well as an inherent decline in the complex multifaceted ability to remain stable over an extended period of time, think about the second law of thermodynamics. Can we forestall this decline, probably to some extent? I do not think this can be done indefinitely.

What purpose would be served if we could live indefinitely? There are many social, ethical and psychological issues that must be considered. I think we do our best when we have deadlines to observe.

What is the purpose of earning billions of dollars for Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Kim-Jong Un, Jack Ma, etc if they can't extend their lives indefinitely. So science must accelerate research into tolemerase inhibitors and other means to live virtually forever to serve these billionaires.
 

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