A brief history of gout


: Dr S. Bhattacharjee, Rheumatology and Internal Medicine Registrar, Western Hospital, Footscray, Victoria, Australia 3011. Email: shombre@optusnet.com.au


Gout is relatively unique among rheumatological diseases in that its effects were common and, at least in history, disproportionately represented in prominent authority figures. Effective treatments have only been available for just over a century and therefore for the most part, the disease has run relatively unchecked. Consequently, it may have had global ramifications. The history of gout, from apocryphal orthodoxy to medical clarity, is reviewed, using a few of the more colourful characters in its considerable pantheon.