MAY 28, 2017 10:19 AM PDT

No, You Can't Live Forever

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

We all accept that aging is a natural part of growing up. The human body is not built to last forever. In fact, we top out around 90 years of age. There are some incredible people who have surpassed this milestone, though these centenarians are few and rare. An Indonesian named Mbah Ghoto claimed he was born in December 31, 1870. If true, Ghoto's death on April 30, 2017 would make him the oldest person ever lived at 146 years old. But until the records can be verified, the world record for the oldest person belongs to a Jeanne Calment from France who lived 122 years and 164 days.

Biological aging is a complex process that scientists are still trying to figure out. There are many factors to a person's lifespan, including their genetics, their epigenetics, and their environment. What we often see as signs of aging, such as sagging skin, grey hair, are outward manifestations of the internal aging of cells. This involves mutations that we inherently acquire as we live and grow. And over time, the stress on the DNA and cells cause chain reactions that affect the turnover of cells. The older we get, cellular renewal seems to become less frequent and less efficient, making us feel and look old.

But while scientists are working out the exact mechanics of aging, it's important to remember that growing old is actually a privilege that not everyone is given.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JAN 26, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 26, 2020
The Life of an Arctic Squirrel
There is no overstating the fact that the Arctic Tundra is a cold and unforgiving place. There are few plants or animals that can survive in this extremely...
FEB 22, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 22, 2020
Harmful Algal Blooms
Algae is an essential plant-like organism. They contribute to the diet of some marine animals and supply necessary oxygen to bodies of water. Algae populat...
MAR 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 09, 2020
What Dragonfly Will Do Upon Arriving At Titan
There’s so much happening by way of Martian exploration that it can be easy to forget all the other missions that are being deployed elsewhere in the...
MAR 15, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 15, 2020
This Exoplanet Rains... Iron!?
Many of us take the Earth and its many ‘normal’ characteristics for granted, but there are so many exoplanets in the universe around us with th...
APR 01, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 01, 2020
New Global Water Maps & U.S. Drought Forecasts Available to the Public
Yesterday, NASA’s Global Climate Change team announced that new global groundwater maps and U.S. drought forecasts are available to the public....
APR 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 05, 2020
This Bird Can Mimic Almost Any Sound Accurately
Birds of all kinds are renowned for their calls, songs, and relentless chirps. Some birds use their calls to communicate with one another, while others use...
Loading Comments...