Reflections on the Rise and Fall of PVD, Medical Nanotechnology and Australia Covered with Houseflies

From a cultural anthropology perspective, the very near future of pulmonary vascular diseases (PVDs) seems as fantastic as their ancient past: They did not exist before, and they soon will cease to exist – possibly.

Cultures all over the world had legends of the golden ages in which people had extreme lifespans. We are told that Devraha Baba of India was 513 years old when he died, that Methuselah of Zion lived 969 years, that Tiresias of Greece lived “more than” 600 years and PengZu of China 800 years, that Abdul al-Habashi of Arabia lived 674 years and 100 days, and so on around the world – all according to such legends. As Norris McWhirter, certainly an authority on extreme claims (he and his brother Ross authoring the first Guinness Book of Records in 1955), wrote, “No single subject is more obscured by vanity, deceit, falsehood and deliberate fraud than the extremes of human longevity.”[1] What is interesting, however, is not the question of whether those extreme ages were literal or figurative years, but simply the fact that it was universally believed that people used to live far longer than they do now, which presumably would mean the absence of killer diseases, including PVDs (e.g., idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn, pulmonary embolism, chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary hypertension associated with congenital heart defects, to name only a few).

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 1: No 4 cover image

December 2011

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 1: No 4

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