Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I am doing Grand-Rounds on the relationship of uric acid and hypertension

About three years ago I had the privledge to attend a day long seminar on gout put together by Jerry Yee from Henry Ford Hospital. The highlight of the day was a lecture by Richard Johnson from the University of Florida. I had learned about Johnson at my fellowship as the principle discoverer of the link between hepatitis C and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (review), in my mind, among the most significant discoveries in nephrology in the last twenty years. Before seeing him I had not made the connection between Richard Johnson and the author of the deservedly popular nephrology text Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology, but it is one and the same.

At that seminar Dr. Johnson gave the greatest lecture I have ever heard. The lecture was on uric acid and its etiologic role in hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

When I heard that he was writing a book on the subject I purchased it and have been reading it on and off for the last 8 months or so. Unfortunately, the book doesn't have nearly the punch as his 90 minute lecture. My sense is that he writes to the level of the typical purchaser of diet books and comes across more as a carnival barker than one of the most respected researchers in nephrology today.

As I get ready for my grand rounds I am going to blog about uric acid, fructose and the epidemics of diabetes, obesity and hypertension as presented by Dr. Johnson in his book: The Sugar Fix. Should be an interesting ride as the subject is blessed with lots of data, industry influence, huge health implications and a likely Nobel prize if Johnson has really discovered the cause of the bulk of essential hypertension.

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