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February 7, 1925


JAMA. 1925;84(6):457-458. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02660320049026

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General Paralysis  Professor Kräpelin, the Munich psychiatrist, delivered recently an address on general paralysis, before the Emperor William society for the advancement of science, of Berlin. He emphasized that, of all known mental diseases, general paralysis, sometimes falsely called softening of the brain, is the only one the demarcations of which have been scientifically established. The first reliable observations on the disease date from the second half of the nineteenth century. As far back as 1856, Esmarch and Jessen began to suspect that syphilis played an important part in the pathogenesis of general paralysis. As time went on, the evidence accumulated until finally, through the introduction of the Wassermann test and the demonstration of the causative agent of syphilis, the spirochetes, in the brain of patients at necropsy (Noguchi, 1912) and then by Forster in the living brain, the last doubts were removed. For some twenty years or more, refined

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