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Longevity

No End in Sight for Human Life Expectancy

16 years ago

882  0
Posted on Oct 14, 2002, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

British and German researchers have described the increase in human life expectancy that has occurred over the last 150 years as "astonishing". Jim Oeppen from Cambridge University in the UK and James W Vaupel of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany believe that the statistics showing that longevity is continuously on the increase contradict the view that the human life span will soon hit a "ceiling".

British and German researchers have described the increase in human life expectancy that has occurred over the last 150 years as "astonishing". Jim Oeppen from Cambridge University in the UK and James W Vaupel of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany believe that the statistics showing that longevity is continuously on the increase contradict the view that the human life span will soon hit a "ceiling". For the past 160 years the top life expectancy has increased by a quarter of a year every year, and according to Oeppen and Vaupel there is no reason to suggest a stop to this annual increase is on the cards: "If life expectancy were close to a maximum, then the increase in the record expectation of life should be slowing. It is not." They predict that the top life expectancy will continue to increase by 2.5 years each decade, thus meaning that the world's top average life expectancy should reach 100 within the next 50 years.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Science 2002; 296: 1029-1031

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