The BBC looks at those people who reach extreme old age and the longevity research that seeks to understand why. It's a reminder that most gerontologists - and journalists - are deeply skeptical of the ability of advancing science to improve human capabilities. From Tom Kirkwood: "It's a bit like the world record for the mile," says Mr Kirkwood. "Once it was thought that no one could run a mile in under four minutes. ... The current world record can always be broken, but it's highly unlikely we'll see anyone run the mile in two minutes." But there is a way to do it - it's called an automobile. Gerontologists are failing to account for the future of medical technology, and by their pronouncements are suppressing public support for research that could lead to greatly extended healthy life spans.