Story at a glance

  • Researchers studying the relationship between aging and the ability to cope with stress found that limits of a human lifespan lie anywhere from 120 to 150.
  • Based on data collected from an iPhone app and medical records from volunteers in both the United States and United Kingdom, the study’s authors measured a subject's resilience to stressors.
  • With age, the researchers found a decline in the subjects ability to recover.

Researchers studying the relationship between aging and the ability to cope with stress found that the limits of a human lifespan lie anywhere from 120 to 150.

Based on data collected from an iPhone app and medical records from volunteers in both the United States and United Kingdom, the study’s authors measured subjects’ resilience to stressors. With age, the researchers found a decline in the subjects ability to recover.

“As we age, more and more time is required to recover after a perturbation, and on average we spend less and less time close to the optimal physiological state,” study author Timothy V. Pyrkov said in a press release.


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The study, which was published in the scientific journal Nature, additionally found that even the healthiest volunteers were subject to the same fundamental laws of aging. The group concluded that “no strong life extension is possible by preventing or curing diseases without” without intercepting fundamental laws of the aging process.

"Aging in humans exhibits universal features common to complex systems operating on the brink of disintegration,” said Peter Fedichev, co-founder and CEO of Gero, a biotech company involved in the research.

“This work is a demonstration of how concepts borrowed from physical sciences can be used in biology to probe different aspects of senescence and frailty to produce strong interventions against aging,” he added in the press release. 


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Andrei Gudkov, senior vice president and chair of the Department of Cell Stress Biology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, was involved in the study and called the research a “conceptual breakthrough.”

“It explains why even most effective prevention and treatment of age-related diseases could only improve the average but not the maximal lifespan unless true anti-aging therapies have been developed,” Gudkov concluded. 

The oldest human on record lived to be 122. 


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Published on May 26, 2021