The first descriptions of gout can be traced to the dawn of recorded medical history, yet a number of controversies and unanswered questions remain regarding diagnosis and treatment of gout. Questions can still be posed about the need for crystal identification of all cases, the utility of a 24-hour urine collection for uric acid, and even the difficulty of choosing a technique for measurement of uric acid. Some time has elapsed since Mesner stated in 1623, 'Love and gout are incurable.' How far have we come? How have we evaluated different treatments for gout? Ongoing reviews of the Cochrane collaboration show that there is still very little reliable information based on randomized controlled trials on which to base treatment decisions in acute and chronic gout.
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