Study: There Is No Limit to Humans’ Lifespan

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. solely / ˈsoʊlli / (adv) – only

    My knowledge of science is limited and based solely on books I’ve read.

  2. demographic / ˌdɛməˈgræfɪk / (adj) – describing data related to a population’s characteristics (e.g. age, gender, area of residence)

    Most studies consider the participants’ demographic information like age and gender.

  3. concrete / kɑnˈkriːt / (adj) – actual or real

    I have a written document as concrete proof that my boss allowed me to take a leave.

  4. big picture / bɪg ˈpɪktʃɚ / (idiom) – the overall idea of a certain issue or situation

    I don’t really pay attention to small details; I’d rather focus on the big picture.   

  5. trivial / ˈtrɪvijəl / (adj) – not important; with very little value

    I don’t have time to deal with trivial matters.


Read the text below.

A new study claims that the human lifespan has no maximum limit.

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and the Sapienza University of Rome analyzed the death rates of 3,836 Italians aged 105 and above from 2009 to 2015. Based on the findings, the likelihood of living or dying balances out once an individual reaches the age of 105. The study also found that those between 105 and 109 can still survive for an additional one and a half years.

Because the study was based solely on statistical and demographic data, the researchers were not able to give any concrete explanations for their findings. They only suggested that environmental and evolutionary factors affect the length of a human’s life. Lifestyle, crime rates, and access to health care are some environmental factors that can affect aging. On the other hand, evolutionary factors include hereditary illnesses.

Despite the findings, some members of the scientific community are not convinced by the study. A researcher on aging from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Department of Genetics found the study interesting but argued that it does not really show the big picture. Moreover, he believes that the data is very limited and that the results may not be applicable to people in other countries.

Meanwhile, a professor at the University of Illinois / ˌɪləˈnoɪ / at Chicago’s School of Public Health commented that studying the mortality rate of a small population is trivial. The professor suggested that scientists should focus more on determining the reasons behind the mortality of people under 100 years old and finding ways to impede their aging.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think this kind of research should be done in your country? Why or why not?
• If you could conduct any kind of research about aging, what would you like to find out? Discuss your ideas.

Discussion B

• Do you want to live beyond 110 years? Why or why not?
• What lifestyle habits do you think can prolong one’s life? Discuss.