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Researchers say we can live to 110, but there’s a pretty big catch

If you can hang in there through your 90s and make it to 105, your chances of living to 110 get higher, says a new study. Getty Images

It seems too good to be true, but a new study suggests if we can hang in there ’til the age of 105, we have a good chance of making it to 110.

In a recent collaborative effort between the University of California and Sapienza University in Rome, researchers have found that after the age of 105, the chances of survival plateaued, making the chance of being a supercentenarian a reality for some.

“Our data tell us that there is no fixed limit to the human lifespan yet in sight,” said study senior author Kenneth Wachter of UC Berkeley in a statement. “Not only do we see mortality rates that stop getting worse with age, we see them getting slightly better over time.”

READ MORE: 100-year-old woman says the key to longevity is drinking wine

The numbers

The study tracked mortality rates of 3,836 Italian elders who were 105 and older, between the years of 2009 and 2015. Once people passed the age of 105, researchers noted, their chances of survival plateaued — going against other major research that suggests humans have a cut-off point.

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Published in the journal Science on Friday, the study also found people between 105 and 109 had a 50/50 chance of dying within the year, authors added, as well as a further lifespan of another 1.5 years.

“That life expectancy rate was projected to be the same for 110-year-olds, or supercentenarians, hence the plateau,” authors explained.

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But it wasn’t all good news. The study also found those who had reached their 90s had a 15 per cent chance of dying within the next year, and an average of only six years to live. If they made it to 95, those chances increased to 24 per cent. In short, if you can hang in there through your 90s and make it to 105, your chances of living to 110 get higher.

READ MORE: Sleeping in on weekends can help you live longer — study

The controversy

Some experts, however, have called the report controversial, Gizmodo reports, adding some experts don’t believe data like this is the best way to determine if people can plateau after a certain age.

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“This analysis was purely statistical and demographic in nature, so the authors didn’t provide any tangible or meaningful explanations for the observed mortality plateau, aside from the suggestion that structural (e.g. improved health care for the extreme elderly) and evolutionary factors (e.g. the mutation accumulation theory and age-related genetic factors) are likely at play,” writer George Dvorsky notes.

The site also spoke with aging researcher Brandon Milholland, who wasn’t involved with this study, but said it adds a small glimpse into how we age.

“It’s based on seven years of data in one country, and most of the data apply for ages 105 to 108,” Milholland told the site.

Ways to extend life

And we’ve all heard tales of drinking wine or avoiding men to live to 100 — there are really no set rules you can follow to guarantee to live past 100.

Experts like Vancouver-based registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen previously told Global News the official rule on moderate drinking within a healthy lifestyle is to consume no more than one standard drink a day for women and two a day for men.

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“To keep your body as healthy as possible, I recommend going at least two or three days without any alcohol consumption, in line with national guidelines. Even better, keep drinks to the weekend most weeks, but just remember, you can’t save up your weekly allotment and spend it all in two days.”

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Other research has shown maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, eating well and avoiding smoking can improve your chances of living a long, happy life.

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

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