Breaking the ceiling of human maximal life span

Moshe Shay Ben-Haim, Yariv Kanfi, Sarah J. Mitchell, Noam Maoz, Kelli L. Vaughan, Ninette Amariglio, Batia Lerrer, Rafael De Cabo, Gideon Rechavi, Haim Y. Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While average human life expectancy has increased dramatically in the last century, the maximum life span has only modestly increased. These observations prompted the notion that human life span might have reached its maximal natural limit of ∼115 years. To evaluate this hypothesis, we conducted a systematic analysis of all-cause human mortality throughout the 20th century. Our analyses revealed that, once cause of death is accounted for, there is a proportional increase in both median age of death and maximum life span. To examine whether pathway targeted aging interventions affected both median and maximum life span, we analyzed hundreds of interventions performed in multiple organisms (yeast, worms, flies, and rodents). Three criteria: median, maximum, and last survivor life spans were all significantly extended, and to a similar extent. Altogether, these findings suggest that targeting the biological/genetic causes of aging can allow breaking the currently observed ceiling of human maximal life span.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1465-1471
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - 8 Oct 2018


FundersFunder number
Herczeg Institute on Aging
I-Core Foundation41/11
Israel Cancer Research Fund
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries1237680
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation
Israel Cancer Association2016-0103
Israel Science Foundation621/13, 777/16
Ministry of Health, State of Israel3.9194


    • Life span
    • Longevity
    • Pathway Targeted Interventions


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