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March 2, 1918


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1918;70(9):643-644. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600090063027

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To the Editor:  —In my opinion, based on the study of syphilis from the histologic, bacteriologic and clinical points of view, the postmortem appearances, interpreted as being evidence of syphilis are the least valuable as proof and often actually misleading, contrary to the view expressed by Symmers and Darlington (Symmers, Douglaas, and Darlington, C. G.: The Value of the Wassermann Reaction, The Journal, Feb. 2, 1918, p. 279).Syphilis is an anatomic disease, but the postmortem anatomic changes are often better regarded as the results of a disease, of a process which has come to an end before the death of the individual, rather than as the disease itself; hence the fallacy of correlating the results of a reaction, which necessarily depends on the active disease process, with terminal fibroid changes.The Wassermann reaction presupposes that there are certain substances in one or both of two body fluids, the presence

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