From the archives: Is there a restrict to human life?


Individuals have all the time been fascinated with the query of human longevity. On this 1954 piece for Know-how Assessment, James A. Tobey, writer of greater than a dozen books on public well being, together with Your Weight loss program for Longer Life (1948), famous that regardless of a couple of frauds claiming to be older than 150, “the consensus of scientific opinion is that there’s a particular restrict to human life, a restrict now and maybe perpetually within the neighborhood of 100 years.” 

In 1954, the typical life expectancy of an American at beginning had risen to 68 years from 47 in 1900. However many of the advances got here not from outdated folks dwelling longer however from infants avoiding demise earlier than their first birthday. The common individual’s probabilities of dwelling to 100 in mid-Twentieth-century America, Tobey noticed, have been “no higher than they have been within the days of the Roman Empire.”

We’ve got carried out higher since then: common life expectancy reached almost 79 years within the US earlier than declining lately, largely on account of the covid-19 pandemic. However as this problem of TR reveals, the hunt to maintain extending the higher restrict on our years lives on. 


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