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February 1959

Laboratory Studies in a Series of Biologic False-Positive Reactors

Author Affiliations

New York

From the Department of Dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Presbyterian Hospital, and the Vanderbilt Clinic.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;79(2):206-212. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560140068010

The existence of the biologic false-positive reaction in the standard tests for syphilis has long been suspected. Its exact significance is as yet unknown. This report concerns a group of patients who, in the main, had no medical sign or symptom except a biologic false-positive reaction. To shed light on the significance of this finding, a variety of laboratory tests were done on each patient. These included serum electrophoretic patterns* and/or protein partitions by the Howe method; cephalin flocculation; thymol turbidity determinations; sedimentation rates; heterophil, Brucella, cold agglutinin, and cryoglobulin determinations; L. E. preparations; Coombs tests; complete blood cell counts, and urinalyses.

The importance of the biologic false-positive reaction is evident from our experience1,2 and that of others.3-6 From our first report,1 in a group of 73 patients admitted to the hospital for various diseases and found to

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