After Reaching a Particular Age, The Risk of Dying Plateaus

after reaching a particular age the risk of dying plateaus

Our risk of dying stops increasing after we attain a particular age as shown by a study published in Science.[1] This has opened up a new debate in the scientific world and scientists are cautioning the people about putting too much hope on science and technology to defy the aging process.

Demographers took a look on at the data collected from nearly 4000 Italians who were above the age of 105 years and it was noticed that with each passing year, there was no further increase in the risk of their dying. When put in other words, the risk of death plateaus after reaching a particular age.

Ken Wachter, a professor at the University of California states that among people in the extreme age group, the death rate is decreasing. This implies that we are not coming to a limit when it comes to limiting a lifespan.

A study was done in 2016 that examined the global demographic idea and concluded that 115 years in the upper age limit for humans, with only a few outliers surpassing this barrier.


It was in accordance with the Darwinian school of thought according to which those who are not fit in the Darwinian sense did not get to enjoy extreme old age. Others, who have passed the difficult test of time and proved their mettle as a hard rock are less likely to die with each passing year. It was found that death rate continued to decrease when a person reached 80 years of age and after 105, the death rate actually plateaus.

Those people who survive up to extreme old age like up to 110 years are not more likely to die as compared to a person who is a few years younger. The idea behind this postulation is that people who are genetically robust are more likely to live for indefinite amounts of time, provided the technological advances allow it.

However, the study sheds little light on the less familiar concept of mortality plateaus. Also, the study displayed the trends of aging but did not explain the reason why some people lived up to that ripe old age while others do not. Scientists believe that the reasons for it are rooted deep into the concepts of biology and is so far elusive.

One faction of the scientific community puts a full stop on the age of humans at 115 years.
A report published in the Nature [2] stated that the maximum reported age of death was seen in the mid-1990s and then took a plateaued approach.

This suggested that in spite all the technological advances, the age could not be exceeded beyond 115. in order to push this maximum age further into the hundred scientists will have to come up with interventions that will tackle aging on several fronts which is not possible with the technology that we have today.

Scientists think that if a person is lucky, is born with good genes and is able to avoid diseases, he will have better chances of living a little longer than his peers. This is what is known as ‘Selection’ as per the Darwinian school of thought. However, this does not mean that since the risk of death plateaus, a person will continue to live forever and ever. They will still be very close to death.

Wachter does not believe that one day humans will be able to make some magic drug or substance or a silver bullet that will have a major impact on the whole process of aging. He says that the biggest concern at the moment is getting to know the interaction between genes and its effect on behavior along with the toxins, environmental affect and medicines in order to tune the life course for improving the lifespan.

Over the last millennia, people have been extending their lifespan, with the biggest leaps been made in the century that just passed by. However, our genes are mostly from to caveman times and therefore shows that the way in which human body has been put together is extremely permissive. The trends that are being observed today is like observing evolution taking place, in very small-time frames.