The story is told1 of Bernard Baruch that when he learned his friend Robert C. Ruark had also developed gout he immediately telephoned to congratulate him. "It took me seventy years and seven million dollars to get the gout," said the financier, "and you've got it before you're thirty-five." This little story implies the long-held belief that gout is associated with high status; but it further implies that the gout is in some way the result of this high status.
The question as to why gout is a disease of successful people has seldom been asked. When it has been asked the answer that it is the result of high living has almost uniformly been assumed. The reverse hypothesis, "that a tendency to gout may be a tendency to the executive suite," has been proposed by Dunn and his collaborators in a communication (p 431) in this issue. They