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DeCourt calls attention to a striking mode of onset in tabes when it develops overnight or even in an apoplectiform manner. The study is based on seven personal cases and a dozen or so collected from the literature. In most instances the acute onset of the ataxia was coincident with an exacerbation of a preexisting, but unrecognized, tabes dorsalis; it was indicated not only by the symptoms and signs, but also by the serologic changes in the cerebrospinal fluid. These cases for the most part ran an unusually benign course under active antisyphilitic treatment; except for Argyll Robertson pupils and reduction or loss of tendon reflexes the tabetic signs cleared surprisingly.
As the author remarks, it is curious that the larger textbooks on medicine and neurology have paid little attention to this form of onset of tabes. Contrasting the acute ataxias due to tabes, DeCourt also considers the acute ataxias
Ataxies Aigues: L'ataxie Algue Tabetique.. Arch NeurPsych. 1927;18(4):669. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1927.02210040176020
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