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Are we maxed out?

Have we as human species reached our maximum limit for physical performance?

In a review, a first of its kind spanning 120 years worth of information, scientists have considered the effects of both genetic and environmental parameters.

According to scientist Jean-Francois Toussaint, who was part of the research team that studied trends emerging from historical records, humans have reached a plateau in height, age and physical abilities.

“These traits no longer increase, despite further continuous nutritional, medical, and scientific progress. This suggests that modern societies have allowed our species to reach its limits. We are the first generation to become aware of this,” says Toussaint.

In hope of avoiding a continuous decline in the human race, Toussaint and his team are encouraging policymakers to focus on strategies for increasing the quality of life to boost the proportion of the population that can reach maximum biological limits. “Now that we know the limits of the human species, this can act as a clear goal for nations to ensure that human capacities reach their highest possible values for most of the population,” says Toussaint. “With escalating environmental constraints, this may cost increasingly more energy and investment in order to balance the rising ecosystem pressures. However, if successful, we then should observe an incremental rise in mean values of height, lifespan and most human biomarkers. The utmost challenge is now to maintain these indices at high levels.”

The review was recently published in Frontiers in Physiology, a leading journal in its field, publishing peer-reviewed research on the physiological functions of all living systems, from the sub-cellular and molecular domains to the intact organism and its interaction with the environment.

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