The limit of a person's life: for how many years our body is designed and what factors affect it

Life span evolution

  • From ancient times to the middle of the 20th century

According to a number of scientists,

the average life span of Neanderthals was 22.9 years.

At the end of the Neolithic era (about VIII-III millennium BC.BC), the average life expectancy was just over 20 years, according to other estimates - 20-25 years. In the Bronze and Iron Age (late 4th - early 1st millennium BC), life expectancy was up to 30 years.

The factor that greatly reduced the average life expectancy in those epochs was infant mortality (at the same time, the birth rate was very high, amounting to about 6 people per family).

However, the average life expectancyincreased with age as they got older. For example, the table shows life expectancy in Medieval Britain - 30 years. An aristocrat man in the same period, if he lived to the age of 21, could expect to live:

  • 1200-1300 years: 45 years (up to age 66);
  • 1300-1400: 34 years (up to age 55) (life expectancy decreased due to plague epidemics during this period);
  • 1400-1500: 48 years (up to age 69)
  • 1500-1550: 50 years (up to age 71).

The same was true for commoners.Approximately 30-60% of newborns managed to survive childhood, after which a person had a 50% chance of living to 50-55 years or more. Therefore, the low average life expectancy in the past does not mean that people died en masse at the age of 20-30. In reality, they lived approximately twice as long as this period.

Infant mortality began to decline significantly only since the 1920s, while the average life expectancy began to increase sharply.

  • From the middle of the 20th century to the present

In 1950, the probability of living to the age of 80-90 years averaged 15-16% for women and 12% for men.

Beginning in 1970, progress in maintaining the life of the elderly began to play a major role in increasing life expectancy.

Until 1990, life expectancy was the highest in Europe, especially in Scandinavia (20 years higher than in Russia and 10 years higher than in Great Britain).

After 1990, the leader in longevityEast Asia, in particular Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The highest rate of increase in life expectancy is in the same place, the lowest is in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

In 2002, the probability of living to the age of 80-90 years averaged 37% for women and 25% for men.

Why are we getting old?

All theories of aging can be roughly divided intotwo large groups: evolutionary theories and theories based on accidental cell damage. The former believe that aging is not a necessary property of living organisms, but a programmed process.

According to them, aging has developed as a result ofevolution because of some of the benefits that it gives to the whole population. In contrast, damage theories suggest that aging is the result of a natural process of accumulation of damage over time that the body tries to combat, and that differences in aging among organisms are the result of different effectiveness of this struggle.

The latter approach is now considered to be established inbiology of aging. However, some researchers still defend the evolutionary approach, and some others completely ignore the division into evolutionary and damage theories.

Long-liver biochemical factors

Research from Italy shows that long-livers with good health have high levels of vitamin A and vitamin E, and this appears to be important for their longevity.

There is another study that contradicts this and suggests that these results do not apply to centenarians in Sardinia, for whom other factors are likely to play a more important role.

Preliminary research carried out inPoland, showed that, compared with young healthy women, centenarians living in Upper Silesia had significantly higher glutathione reductase and red blood cell catalase activity and higher, albeit negligible, serum vitamin E levels.

Scientists from Denmark also found thatlong-livers, there is a high activity of glutathione reductase in red blood cells. In this study, the centenarians with the best cognitive and physical functionality tended to have the highest activity of this enzyme.

Also, some studies show that high vitamin D levels affect longevity.

Another study found that people whose parents became centenarians have an increased number of naive B cells.

Centenarians are thought to have a different isoform structure of adiponectin and have a favorable metabolic phenotype compared to older adults.

Genetic factors

  • Brothers and sisters

Studies conducted in the United Stateshave shown that people are much more likely to celebrate their 100th birthday when their brother or sister is older. These results, from a study of centennial New England residents in Boston, show that siblings of centenarians are four times more likely to live past 90 than the general population.

  • 150 longevity genes

Another study by New EnglandThe Centenarian Study identified 150 genetic variations that appear to be associated with longevity that can be used to predict with 77 percent accuracy whether someone will live to be 100 years old.

  • Enzyme telomerase

Research also shows that there isa clear link between life to 100 and the inheritance of an overactive version of telomerase, an enzyme that prevents cell aging. Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the United States say that long-lived Ashkenazi Jews have this mutant gene.

  • Bad habits

Many centenarians manage to avoid chronicdiseases even after they have put their health at serious risk throughout their lives. For example, many people in the study of 100-year-old New England residents survived the milestone without cancer or heart disease, despite smoking up to 60 cigarettes a day for 50 years.

The same applies to people from Okinawa inJapan, where about half of centenarians had smoking experience and a third regularly drank alcohol. Perhaps these people had genes that protected them from the dangers of carcinogens or accidental mutations that occur naturally when cells divide.

Likewise, studies of centenariansconducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed that the people studied had less healthy habits. For example, as a group, they were more likely to be obese, more inactive, and exercised less than other younger groups.

  • FOXO3a gene

It is well known that children of centenarians alsocan reach this age, where it comes from is unknown, but genetic inheritance is probably important. Variation in the FOXO3a gene is known to have a positive effect on human lifespan and is much more common in those living 100 years or more, and this statement seems to be true around the world.

Some studies show that centenarians have healthier cardiovascular health than their peers.

How do you increase your lifespan?

There are several possible strategies, due towhich researchers hope to reduce the rate of aging and increase lifespan. For example, lifespan is increased by up to 50% as a result of calorie restriction in a diet that is generally healthy in many animals, including some mammals (rodents).

The influence of this factor on life expectancyhumans and other primates have not yet been discovered, the available data are still insufficient, and research is ongoing. Others rely on tissue rejuvenation using stem cells, organ replacement (artificial organs or organs grown for this purpose, for example, by cloning) or chemical and other methods (antioxidants, hormone therapy) that would affect the molecular repair of body cells. ...

However, at the moment, significant success has not yet been achieved and it is not known when, in years or decades, there will be significant progress in this industry.

The question is whether to increase the durationlife, today is a matter of numerous debates at the political level, and the main opposition mainly consists of representatives of some religious denominations. A number of public (RTD, WTA) organizations actively support work to significantly increase human life expectancy. Under the leadership of Mikhail Batin and Vladimir Anisimov, a comprehensive research program "Science against aging" is being developed.

In 2017, scientists from Arizona State UniversityPaul Nelson and Joanna Mazel, whose article was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that, from a mathematical point of view, aging is inevitable, because even if you create ideal conditions for the body, either malignant or non-functional cells leading to death.

How old can a person live?

Researchers from Singapore, Russia and the United States underThe leadership of Peter Fedichev from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) developed a new method for determining biological age by blood analysis and suggested using the universal complex indicator DOSI (dynamic organism state indicator) to assess biological aging.

Analyzing data from longitudinal blood testsa person from the US National Health and Nutrition Survey and the UK Biobank, the authors found that fluctuations in DOSI are associated with variables such as age, the presence of diseases and lifestyle, and that DOSI increases with age in proportion to the recovery time from illness, that is, it serves an indicator of the physiological stability of the body.

Based on this, scientists obtained by calculationthe maximum possible life expectancy in the region from 120 to 150 years, where resistance approaches zero. This is broadly consistent with population-based observations showing that the number of people showing signs of loss of resilience grows exponentially with age, and doubles every eight years, the researchers said. The mortality rate from all causes is growing at the same rate.

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