July 2, 1932


JAMA. 1932;99(1):46-47. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02740530048019

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Is Multiple Sclerosis of Syphilitic Origin?  French pathologists are divided on the question of the etiology of multiple sclerosis. Some regard the disease as an infection due to a filtrable virus, although no case of contagion has ever been reported, and endeavor to find a curative serum obtained from monkeys inoculated with the pathologic nerve substance. Others regard it as a late manifestation of hereditary syphilis. At a recent meeting of the Société des médecins des hôpitaux de Paris, Mr. Mendelssohn presented a patient who showed unmistakable signs of hereditary syphilis. She presented a typical case of multiple sclerosis but was so much improved by syphilitic treatment that she may be said to have been cured. Paraplegia, tremor, abolition of the abdominal reflex and of the reflexes of the velum palatinum, exaggeration of the patellar and achilles reflexes, and the condition of the cerebrospinal fluid, all cleared up after four

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