Back to Arguing for a Mortality Rate Plateau in Extremely Old Humans

I'm of the opinion that there simply isn't enough data on extremely old humans to do more than roll the dice on the outcome produced by any one statistical analysis, though the results noted here are based on a large enough study population to perhaps demand more attention than past efforts. The researchers have avoided the very sparse data for supercentenarians (110 and older) by focusing on people aged 105 to 110. They conclude that mortality rates stay much the same across that span, at more or less a 50% yearly attrition. This disagrees with one of the more recent attempts to run the numbers for supercentenarian mortality rates.

Aging is defined as the increase of intrinsic mortality rate over time, and a lack of increase is therefore classed as functional immortality by some researchers. Not the useful, desirable sort of immortality, of course. This phenomenon has good supporting data in flies, a species that readily exhibits a late life mortality rate plateau. Whether this happens in mammals, and particularly in humans, is much debated. There are arguments on both sides. It is interesting to ponder whether this functional immortality represents only a temporary buffer in the state of a few critical systems, or would instead continue for much longer, were there enough data to follow mortality that far into physiological loss of function.

The answers may never be known. It is unlikely that many times more physiologically extremely old people than exist today will ever exist. Rejuvenation therapies will emerge over the decades ahead as a counterpoint to demographic aging. The natural state of aged humanity, the fate of everyone absent the ability to repair the root causes of aging, will come to an end. Whether the few survivors at the end of a natural lifetime are strangely immortal will be a question for future computational scientists and their advanced models, not future demographers. Given the lack of interest in modeling exact outcomes of extinct disease states today, I'm not convinced that future scientific and funding communities will care enough to investigate.

Researchers tracked the death trajectories of nearly 4,000 residents of Italy who were aged 105 and older between 2009 and 2015. They found that the chances of survival for these longevity warriors plateaued once they made it past 105. The findings challenge previous research that claims the human lifespan has a final cut-off point. To date, the oldest human on record, Jeanne Calment, died in 1997 at age 122. "Our data tell us that there is no fixed limit to the human lifespan yet in sight. Not only do we see mortality rates that stop getting worse with age, we see them getting slightly better over time."

Specifically, the results show that people between the ages of 105 and 109, known as semi-supercentenarians, had a 50/50 chance of dying within the year and an expected further life span of 1.5 years. That life expectancy rate was projected to be the same for 110-year-olds, or supercentenarians, hence the plateau. The trajectory for nonagenarians is less forgiving. For example, the study found that Italian women born in 1904 who reached age 90 had a 15 percent chance of dying within the next year, and six years, on average, to live. If they made it to 95, their odds of dying within a year increased to 24 percent and their life expectancy from that point on dropped to 3.7 years.

The researchers used data from the Italian National Institute of Statistics. They credit the institute for reliably tracking extreme ages due to a national validation system that measures age at time of death to the nearest day: "These are the best data for extreme-age longevity yet assembled." As humans live into their 80s and 90s, mortality rates surge due to frailty and a higher risk of such ailments as heart disease, dementia, stroke, cancer, and pneumonia. Evolutionary demographers theorize that those who survive do so because of demographic selection and/or natural selection. Frail people tend to die earlier while robust people, or those who are genetically blessed, can live to extreme ages.



If there is a plateau after 105 of around 50% mortality. That means half-lives of 1 year. An easy number to estimate. So if we have 1024 (2^10) people at age of 105 we could expect to have only 1 ten years later. 2^32 is around 4 billion. More or less only one in 4B super centarians could reach 137. To put it a in perspective, after many minor health improvments and tweaks if most of the current living people made it to 105 then all else being equal we would have just one person reaching 105+32. Now, since the group above 130 will be so small we could expect high variation .

All this train of thought is amusing but doesn't give much real insights on the extreme aging. It could indicate that we have only as many sources of damage . Now the question is if a person aged 105 age has her ( much more women than men reach that age so it is not a PC speech 😀) immune system boosted my senolitics and enhanced times, will be mortality be at eye level of 105 y.o or much younger?

Posted by: Cuberat at June 29th, 2018 9:00 AM

An interesting study, not normal regenerative stuff but still cool (open access):

long term home based study of sensor enabled prosthetic

Home Use of a Neural-connected Sensory Prosthesis Provides the Functional and Psychosocial Experience of Having a Hand Again

Posted by: Chris at June 29th, 2018 9:12 AM

Agree, not enough data points. But more importantly, so what? Neither outcome is conclusive as to the veracity of life extension therapies.

Posted by: JohnD at June 29th, 2018 9:19 AM

Hi there, just a 2 cents.

I would not take this study with too much serious. This study is at odds with other ones saying that mortality is exponentially higher once you reach the 110-120 range. This study here does show that, since you did reach 100 in the first place, your odds are not so bad the go up to 110. But, once 110 comes, there is a drastic reduction in the number of people who will live to the 115 mark in the next 5 years. And, again, at 115, it drops even more, and each subsequent year your odds of dying are bigger, it is not frozen like they want us to believe - 115 to 120 is just 5 years, you could make it, except that at 115-120, your aging rate accelerates strongly each +1 year, thus your odds of dying are much higher. I.e. Don't ask yourself why there are so few supercentenarians in the 115-120 club; they all die at latest 120 or before; and, all the 120+ claimers are debunked (as fake).
Plus, women are 9/10 composition oftotal supercentenarians while men are just 1/10, simply because of less oxidative burden of age and inflammation in women/biologically younger longer than men (but that will change in the future, no more lucky birth gender advantage (just like centenarians' offspring being lucky genetically, no more), men will live as long as women when oxidative burden is equal in both. Likewise, there will be no more genetically 'gifted' centenarian while others unlucky die young (which is unfair birth advantage for genetically blessed and handicap for those dying young. No more
bs 'luck', or unluck. I guess it will be a little bit fairer to those dying young and men)).

So, to resume, 120+ lifespan is still Extremely Rare, and we most likely may Not reach 120. Albeit, SENS will increase those odds, but I highly doubt it for unhealthy people who are in the 80 range, it's just very late and the epigenetic clock so far off. SENS would only work if it 'froze' or reduced damage faster than it appeared at this late point. People forget that to reach 120, it is the life cumul. I.e. staying biologically young the Entire life - centenarians were 8 years younger epigenetically by DNA methyl clock. Speed of aging is pretty much equal in regular healthy humans including centenarian offspring (50-70 bp/year loss of telomeric DNA)),, but these centenarian offspring are epigenetically Younger From The Start, so they are Younger Whole Life. Hence, can Live Longer, and thus reach centenarian age - like their centenarian parents.

Just a 2 cents.

Posted by: CANanonymity at June 29th, 2018 9:56 AM

@CANanonymity SENS was always about reducing the damage faster than it appears, the same principle when you are 80 or 50.

If repair strategies can be implemented that reduce damage faster than is accrues, then all bets are off on what is the maximum lifespan.

Just my 2 pence.

Posted by: Steve Hill at June 29th, 2018 10:36 AM

"In 2014, the top five causes of death for centenarians were heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, cancer, and influenza and pneumonia"

The centenarian causes of death are near identical to the COD for all ages.

CVD and Alzheimer's are lifestyle diseases caused mainly by sub-optimal diet and exercise. I know zero people of any age (other than myself) that eat or exercise anywhere close to what is known to be beneficial.

So to me it is simple: There will be more super-centenarians when people are willing to make the commitment to health versus eating for pleasure and physical inactivity.

Posted by: Lee at June 29th, 2018 7:26 PM

Hi Lee,
For a supercentarian having a lifestyle disease means that he made choices to live long enough to be get to the point that the Alzheimer's finally got him. A bad lifestyle choices can increase the chances of a group of diseases but even if you lead a perfect lifestyle the very tiny chances you will live longer than 100 years. The damage can be easily accelerated but reducing or slowing it down is very hard and mainly good genes or luck... Or SENS... ;)

Posted by: Cuberat at June 29th, 2018 7:45 PM
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