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June 17, 1911


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1911;LVI(24):1797-1798. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.02560240027013

Recent discoveries have thrown a strong light on certain hitherto suspected but not definitively demonstrable relations of syphilis. The view that tabes dorsalis and paretic dementia are essentially of syphilitic origin has been finally established by the results of the serumcomplement reaction. For the purposes of this discussion tabes and paresis may be looked on as expressions of the same morbid process, in the one instance affecting especially the spinal cord, and in the other especially the brain. Not rarely the two affections are associated in the same patient. Of the large number of persons infected with syphilis, however, only a comparatively small proportion become tabetic or paretic. Negroes, although frequently syphilitic, rarely develop tabes or paresis. Perhaps they possess an inherent racial immunity. An explanation for the disparity in the incidence of the two diseases must be sought in some special factor, whether on the part of the infected

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