Human life expectancy has been rising for decades in most countries, yet the record for the longest-lived person hasn't budged in 26 years.
Jeanne Calment passed away at 122 in the south of France in 1997. Numerous scientists have posited Calment's lifespan might be a "ceiling." In other words, human genes might simply not have enough juice to make it to 130 and beyond.
A new study begs to differ!
In it, University of Georgia researchers used a new statistical method to analyze mortality data across 19 industrialized nations. Apparently, this method allowed them to estimate - with a high degree of confidence - the age members within generational cohorts might reach a mortality plateau.
Their analysis concluded that we should expect step-change life extension for folks born between 1910 and 1950, which means by 2060 we'll very likely see numerous folks exceed Jeanne Calment's record.
In fact, it's quite possible Calment's record will be broken in less than 20 years!
The study's authors added a major caveat: "Cohorts born before 1950 can only break existing records if policy choices continue to support the health and welfare of the elderly, and the political, environmental, and economic environment remains stable."
Here's the problem, though: if birth rates continue to drop, who will take care of the elderly as lifespans extend? Gigantic challenges will almost certainly emerge here...