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To the Editor.—
The letter from Norman Sher, MD (243:1711, 1980), might give some small mental comfort to gout sufferers. Unfortunately, the evidence that gout is associated with exceptional achievement is scanty and hardly acceptable at a scientific level. One might equally argue that since uric acid is a risk factor in coronary disease, it is responsible for the great achievement in sufferers from this disease. A large number of prominent people also have been shown to suffer from cancer of the lung, peptic ulcer, constipation, brain tumors, and athlete's foot. When enough anecdotes about a condition exist, one suspects that there might be a scintilla of truth underneath. To confirm the relationship between achievement and gout, one would have to take a large population at random—for instance, large population of a community—and independently determine achievement and the existence of gout or preferably uric acid levels.If there turned out to
Jarvik ME. Gout and Achievement. JAMA. 1980;244(18):2048. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310180018020