They ended up with details on 3,836 Italians who lived to be older than 105.
Then they plotted mortality, to see when people died and if there was a pattern. There was. Once people reached 105, the rate of death fell. Of course, they will all eventually die, but the rates were lower as they got older.
“When a mortality curve levels out, it is said to reach a plateau,” Barbi’s team noted. And the death rate plateaus after age 105, they found.
“By using clean data from a single nation and straightforward estimation methods, we have shown that death rates, which increase exponentially up to about age 80, do decelerate thereafter and reach or closely approach a plateau after age 105,” they wrote.
Other studies have found that super-centenarians are exceptionally healthy, given their age, and that they often do not live their last years being sick and frail.
The longest validated lifespan is for Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at when she was 122 years and 167 days old.
The Gerontology Research Group, a U.S. network that tracks the super-old, says 36 are currently living. Chiyo Miyako of Japan, who is more than 117 years old, is currently the oldest verified living person, followed by Giuseppina Projetto-Frau of Italy, who is 116.
The last surviving person born in the 1800s was Italian Emma Morano, who died in 2017 at the age of 117. She was born in November of 1899 and so her life spanned three different centuries.
The trend is moving the wrong way for the United States, however, where life expectancy is falling.