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[Perspectives] Gout

As he tried to evoke the agonies of his gout-stricken patients in the first century CE, the Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia did not mince his words: “No other pain is more severe than this, not iron screws, nor cords, nor the wound of a dagger, nor burning fire.” Like osteoarthritis, like dental caries, gout is one of many chronic diseases that, in the words of the historians Roy Porter and George Rousseau, “are not in themselves fatal, but incurable, typically debilitating, sometimes crippling and inordinately painful”.