Bad news if you're hoping to live to be older than Dumbledore. Even with advances in health care, no human is likely to make it past 125 years, researchers say. In fact, we seem to have maxed out around 115.
After analyzing demographic data from the countries with the most supercentenarians — France, Japan, the U.S., and the U.K. — scientists at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine determined that our maximum age, on the rise for about a century, climbed from about 110 in the 1970s to 115 in the early 1990s, or about 0.15 years per year, per the Guardian. Despite medical advances over the past two decades, however, that age hasn't changed. For example, France's Jeanne Clement, who died at 122 in 1997, is still the oldest person ever to be officially recorded, reports the Atlantic.
"You can't explain the fact that there aren't older people… except to say that we've hit a ceiling," says researcher Jan Vijg.
In fact, the study in Nature suggests there's less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of someone living past 125. That's because our DNA and molecules are slowly damaged over time, and even if this damage doesn't result in disease, our bodies eventually shut down.
One aging expert tells the Atlantic that it may yet be possible to "engineer" a life that goes beyond the current ceiling, but "we'll probably have to modify so many genes that it won't be possible within our lifespan — or even our grandchildren's lifespan."
(In related news, scientists have a bet on whether someone alive now will make it to 150.)