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AFAR in the News: David Sinclair, S. Jay Olshansky, and Thomas Perls Comment on New Maximum Lifespan Research

Oct 6

AFAR in the News: David Sinclair, S. Jay Olshansky, and Thomas Perls Comment on New Maximum Lifespan Research View MoreBACK

On October 5, 2016 The Associated Press, spotlighted responses from aging research experts on recently published research on maximum lifespan by 2012 AFAR Irving Wright Awardee Jan Vijg, PhD, published in the journal, Nature. Vijg’s research suggests that there may be a limit to human lifespan. 

In the AP article, 1998 Beeson Scholar, Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, and 2001 AFAR Research Grant recipient and Board Member David Sinclair, PhD, and Board Member S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, lend insights on the relationship between lifespan and healthspan.

While advances in reducing death among some demographic groups, children, women in childbirth, and the elderly, have resulted in increased life expectancy, lifespan gain have been stagnate among the very old. According to recently published research, this points to a possible limit in human maximum lifespan – the age reached by the longest-lived individual.

The featured AFAR-affiliated scientists explore how this research does not take into account laboratory advances, which may result in treatments for the aging process in humans that will help extend healthspan or keep us healthier longer as we age. 

Dr. Sinclair states: "We can greatly extend the life spans of many different types of animals. I don't think humans are an exception." 

In addition to his response piece published in the same issue of Nature, Dr. Olshansky shares that although it remains to be seen just how much further life span can be stretched with technology, he is confident that if biomedical intervention into the aging processes success, the “current limits are likely to be broken.”

To date, the AP story has been picked by nearly 200 print, digital, and broadcast media outlets worldwide including The Boston Herald, The Washington Post, the Miami Herald, the Guardian, The Independent,,'s Motherboard, and ABC News.

S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, is a Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Research Associate at the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

Thomas Perls, MD, MPA, is a Professor of Geriatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and the founding director of the New England Centenarian Study.

David A. Sinclair, PhD, serves as a Professor of Genetics and co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard Medical School.