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Life expectancy increases linearly three months annually, on average, in developed nations. In developing countries, in spite of the less accelerated pace, humans have also lived considerably more since the 20th century.

This issue instigates scientific studies and debates that still leave questions unanswered. Will the increase in longevity continue indefinitely into the future? Is there a biological limit to human life? On the other hand, recent studies arrived at 10 complementary conclusions:

1. Plateau effect
The largest increase in survival rates has plateaued around the age of 99 in 1980 has only increased very slightly since.

2. The 115 barrier
The maximum age reached by individuals plateaued at 115 years in the mid-1990s with few, yet famous, exceptions.

3. The elderly advance in Japan
One exception is Japan, where the third age is growing quickly, apparently, without age limit.

4. High life expectancy, low birth rate
Some estimates suggest that, by the year 2050, more than 1 million centenarians will live in Japan. On the other hand, birth rates will continue to drop.

5. Results advance with mice
In the last years, aging in mice was reversed with telomerase (which adds specific and repeated DNA sequences). Similar experiments were conducted successfully on human cells.

6. Microscopic, but resistant
There are species, such as the freshwater hydra vulgaris and its less than 1 cm size, with mortality rates that don’t increase with age. These microscopic beings retain similar levels of health throughout their lives.

7. The cure to deadly diseases will be an ally of longevity
Several researchers argue that you shouldn’t take away from the equation the medical advances of the future, that may target the aforementioned aging processes as well as many deadly diseases.

8. Bad habits negatively affect statistics
Researchers also explain how prescription drug abuse, alcohol and suicide have shortened life expectancy of many middle-aged individuals.

9. Centenarians and healthy
75% of patients over 100 years of age were not depressed, 65% had not been admitted to a hospital in the last 12 months and almost 25% did not take medication on a regular basis.

10. Winners add two years of life expectancy
Winning the Nobel Prize adds two years of life expectancy in comparison with researchers of the same age and same country who were merely nominated.

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