Wanna Bet?

Steven Austad Life expectancy has increased remarkably in this century, but just how much farther can it go? One scientist bets that by 2150, someone--a woman, no doubt, (about 80 percent of centenarians now are women)--will live to the ripe old age of 150 with cognition intact. Another scientist bets that 130 will be the upper limit. To seal the bet, S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Steven Austad of the University of Idaho department o

Jean Mccann
Feb 4, 2001


Steven Austad
Life expectancy has increased remarkably in this century, but just how much farther can it go? One scientist bets that by 2150, someone--a woman, no doubt, (about 80 percent of centenarians now are women)--will live to the ripe old age of 150 with cognition intact. Another scientist bets that 130 will be the upper limit.

To seal the bet, S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Steven Austad of the University of Idaho department of biological sciences, who often run into each other at various aging meetings, have jointly set up a $300 trust fund expected to pay off the winner or winners to the tune of $500 million, taking into consideration periodic contributions and compound interest by 2150.

Olshansky bets that "130 is possible, but 150 [Austad's bet] is so far beyond the reach of current or anticipated medical...