Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Gout Gremlin

Unfortunately my current rotation (musculoskeletal - a.k.a rheumatology, dermatology and orthopaedics) doesn't allow me much time to watch the news and keep abreast of bloggable items, but this morsel in today's lecture interested me.

This depiction of gout, a disease in which high levels of uric acid are deposited into joints, is an historic perception of illness. Uric acid is very insoluble and so rapidly crystallises in the synovium. It most commonly affects the big toe and ankle, and presents acutely with a hot, swollen and tender joint.

This idea of a malicious, malevolent creature feasting parasitically from the body is a common take on ill health and a convenient metaphor, especially when disease is poorly understood. In this case, germs are not involved, but it's easier to blame a mischevious creature for the problem rather than your alcohol intake...!


Anjali said...
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Anjali said...

how true! everyone prefers to use a scapegoat like a horrible gremlin than admit it is their own lifestyle which is at fault!

i feel methods of coping are often depicted in pictures!