Contrary to claims touted by most products in the vitamin store, it turns out that human beings really do have a maximum lifespan. Researcher Jan Vijg of Einstein College of Medicine in New York has presented compelling proof for this Monday morning downer. For those of you older boomers who just had to mentally cut short your plan to spend the next 50+ years re-accumulating the assets you lost in the 2007 financial crisis, Vijg offers little hope.
Vijg's team looked at global databases on lifespan and found it peaks at around 100 and then falls back down again. "We show that improvements in survival with age tend to decline after age 100, and that the age at death of the world's oldest person has not increased since the 1990s. Our results strongly suggest that the maximum lifespan of humans is fixed and subject to natural constraints," they wrote.
The limit seems to be about 115, or 125 if you account for the very occasional outlier, still waiting for someone to wheel them away from the nursing home lunch table. Vijg explains, "These incredibly rare ages that approach the limits of lifespan -- 70 to 80 percent of it is explained by a difference in genes and not so much health behaviors."
Even Seventh Day Adventists, arguably among the healthiest people on the planet, have not broken through the 115-year-old limit. The bottom line is that, environment aside, we have a limit to how long we can continue to perpetuate the myth that we will one day master a foreign language. Medical breakthroughs will help us inch closer to the magic 115, of course, but, after all of our joints and some of our organs have been replaced, and, after all of the medical breakthroughs there are have broken through, we still ultimately buck up to 115.
Again, from Vijg, "A mouse in the wild doesn't live more than seven, eight months or so. But if you take those mice and keep them in captivity and optimal conditions, they die when they are two years old or so. But they die. And that is because of the aging process."
A spokesmouse for the Wild Mice Association had this to say, "We believe a life of freedom and individual choice, albeit a short one because of all those fucking cats we have to contend with, is far superior to one of captivity, under authoritarian rule. We demand the immediate release of the hostages now being held in research facilities."
For those readers who actually take Life in the Boomer Lane's posts seriously, and can cite verbatim the previous posts that announced the arrival of the sciene-provided fountain of life, LBL admits that Vijg's research has a lot of detractors. The line is drawn in the sand, between those who believe that life is finite and those who believe that they will live long enough to finally clean out their junk drawer.
A word of caution, though: As for all of this research, you should be old enough to have learned that you can't believe anything you read or hear. LBL, herself has reached a point in life in which she can't even believe anything she, herself, says. This has made her own life a lot easier to manage.
Now that she has dispensed with that, she will turn her attention to investigating the claim that our world leaders are Lizard People. Stay tuned.