Diet and metabolism are back: The oldest known Islamic medical manuscript bridges the gap from ancient to modern gout management
- Styliani Geronikolou
- George P. Chrousos
- Demetrios A. Spandidos
- Athanasios Diamantopoulos
Affiliations: Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece, Laboratory of Clinical Virology, Medical School, University of Crete, 71003 Heraklion, Greece, Louros Foundation for the History of Medicine, 11528 Athens, Greece
- Published online on: October 2, 2023 https://doi.org/10.3892/mi.2023.114
Copyright : © Geronikolou
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Commons Attribution License [CC BY 4.0].
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Gout is a chronic disease frequently associated with lifestyle; its prevalence is increasing in Western societies, as well as in the Middle East. Apart from its partial genetic features, diet accounts for 12% of the causality of the disease, while purine‑rich foods contribute decisively to its development and evaluation. The influential Persian physician of the medieval ages, Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Zakariya al‑Razi (or by his Latin name Rhazes; 860‑925 AD), wrote a short book (20 chapters) entitled ‘Treatise on gout’. Rhazes adopted the Hippocratic humoralism, and suggested that the disease results from metabolic excess in the peripheral blood, presenting sex dimorphism and age‑dependence. His therapeutic guidelines include a diet prescribed by a physician, the use of laxatives and emetics, counter‑balancing excess or deficiency of bile or phlegm and analgesics, bloodletting, foot and steam baths, as well as salves and poultices as preventive measures. He appends differential dietary restrictions/suggestions for phlegmatic or choleric patients: Small rations and intake of good quality foods low in purine by 20% for phlegmatic and 28% for choleric patients, as well as the restriction of foods high in purine by 27% for phlegmatic and 22% for the choleric patients. Finally, the acidic to alkaloid food intake ratio suggested is 2/5 for choleric and 3/7 for phlegmatic patients. His suggested foods and drugs are vitamin C and B‑rich complexes, thereby inhibiting the accumulation of tophi.