UPDATED: June 2, 2021 15:26 IST
Immortality, the fountain of youth or the idea of living forever have been one of the biggest desires over centuries as Mark Twain famously said “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.” Now a group of researchers from Singapore are exploring the question what’s the longest life that could be lived by a human system?
The researchers from Singapore-based biotech company Gero in a paper published in the journal Nature Communication point to an underlying “pace of ageing” that sets the lifespan between 120-150 years. Titled “Longitudinal analysis of blood markers reveals progressive loss of resilience and predicts human lifespan limit,” the paper says that death is an intrinsic biological property that is independent of stress factors.
To assess this evolution, the researchers looked at changes in blood cell counts and the daily number of steps taken by people. They looked at health data for large groups from the US, the UK and Russia. “Aging in humans exhibits universal features common to complex systems operating on the brink of disintegration,” the researchers said in a statement.
Led by Timothy V Pyrkov, the team observed that as age increased, the factors beyond disease drove a predictable and incremental decline in the body’s ability to return blood cells. They found that the pace of decline determined when that resilience will completely disappear leading to death.
They found that age of complete resilience loss at the range of 120 to 150 years.
Speaking to Scientific American, Study co-author Peter Fedichev, who founded Gero said “although most biologists would view blood cell counts and step counts as pretty different, the fact that both sources paint exactly the same future suggests that this pace-of-ageing component is real.”
The more interesting observation of the research included the fact that resilience starts declining steeply somewhere in the mid-thirties to mid-forties with the body slowly losing its ability to cope and recover from stress.
“This work explains why even the most effective prevention and treatment of age-related diseases could only improve the average but not the maximal lifespan unless true antiaging therapies have been developed,” added US-based co-author Andrei Gudkov, from the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Experts believe that the research could guide the development of drugs to slow the process and extend healthspan as recovery rate is an important sign of ageing.
It is to be noted that the oldest person on record to have ever lived, Jeanne Calment, died at the age of 122 in France.