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Specific lesions of the nervous system produce localizing symptoms similar in character to those which result from non-specific lesions having the same anatomic seat. Partial epilepsy of gummatous origin or hemiplegia from syphilitic thrombosis of the central arteries has no distinguishing features, per se; associate symptoms alone reveal its real nature. To describe these characteristic symptoms and to emphasize their importance in the diagnosis of cerebral syphilis in particular, is the object of my paper. A brief reference to the salient pathologic features of specific nervous disease is essential for the better understanding of the subject.
It is well known that syphilitic inflammation affects primarily the blood-vessels and meninges of the neuraxis. While no part of this extensive territory is exempt from specific invasion, the most vulnerable parts are the convexity of the hemispheres, especially in their anterior portion, and more frequently still the base of the brain from the
ROTHWELL WJ. THE STIGMATA OF NERVOUS SYPHILIS.. JAMA. 1898;XXXI(21):1228–1230. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.92450210029002i