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April 3, 1937


Author Affiliations

Durham, N. C

From the Departments of Medicine and Bacteriology, Duke University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1937;108(14):1170. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.92780140002008a

The serologic diagnosis of syphilis is at present complicated, time consuming and expensive. A rapid, cheap and reliable method of diagnosis is highly desirable. Laughlen1 has recently described such a method and it is our purpose in this brief communication to report on its use in 1,000 serums taken in a routine manner from hospital patients. In Laughlen's test a drop of reagent is added to a drop of serum or spinal fluid on a glass slide, which is then tilted repeatedly and observed at frequent intervals in an indirect light. The reagent is prepared by adding tincture of benzoin compound, cholesterol, scarlet red and physiologic solution of sodium chloride to an alcoholic extract of beef heart. The reader is referred to the original communication for the exact details of preparation. A positive reaction is recognized by the macroscopic appearance of coarse red particles which rapidly increase in size, whereas

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