Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
Could humans hibernate

One of the biggest questions in ageing research is whether there is a ceiling on how long human beings can live. A recent study, published in Science, suggests there isn’t. The study measured the survival probabilities of 3,896 people in Italy aged 105 and older. It found that, while we are much more likely to die at 75 than at 55, once we reach about 105, the odds of death remain about the same each year of life.

This effect is often referred to as a “mortality plateau”. If it were impossible to live past a certain age, we would expect mortality rates to continue rising as people age, rather than plateau. The fact that the odds of dying don’t appear to increase past 105 suggests that we have not yet approached our maximum lifespan as a species. But is potentially living for over a century something we ought to look forward to? Here, philosophy can offer some important insights.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Mackenzie Graham, Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities. 

Oxford is a subscribing member of The ConversationFind out how you can write for The Conversation.