Is First Person to Live to Be 150 Already Alive?
Scientists are now betting on it, literally
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2016 3:30 PM CDT
Cecilia Laurent is seen in her home Feb. 1, 2016, in Laval, Quebec. She died in May at the reported age of 120.   (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Newser) – As we get better at treating age-related diseases such as cancer and dementia, humans might add 20 to 30 years to both the average person's lifespan and the longevity of the world's oldest people. So say researchers who are investigating new and existing drugs that may help slow the aging process, reports Seeker. The projections are based on drug trials that see mice boasting a 20% to 25% increase in lifespan, which some are confident will extend to humans. Two researchers, in fact, made a wager in 2000 on whether the first human to live to 150 has already been born, reports Mainebiz. Biology professor Stephen Austad of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Chicago have each put $150 into an investment account that could reach $500 million when the wager is settled in 2150.

Austad is confident someone will have reached 150 by then, Olshansky bets otherwise. The age 150 is 21% older than the oldest person ever documented, Jeanne Calment of France, who died in 1997 at age 122. If humans do end up living at least another 25 years on average—to about age 100—Austad says it will "influence when we have kids, what kind of careers we have, and our second, third, or fourth careers. ... It has the potential to change more than we realize." One of the drugs Austad is researching, metformin, is a commonly prescribed drug for Type II diabetes and has been around for 60 years. Other promising drugs are still being investigated for safety in clinical trials. (The last American born in the 1800s ate a hearty breakfast every day.)
 

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