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JAMA 100 Years Ago
June 23/30, 1999


Author Affiliations

Edited by Jennifer Reiling, Editorial Assistant.

JAMA. 1999;281(24):2266L. doi:10.1001/jama.281.24.2266

By C. H. Hughes, M.D.

After a study of general paralysis of the insane for thirty years, Mendel1 believes the type of this disease presenting in the newer and larger clinic picture of paresis, contrasted with its distinguishing features as described by the early writers, is markedly changing, and in this conviction of the distinguished neurologist of Berlin my own clinic experience concurs, as I have been enabled to also verify the myositis of Gowers as an independent condition and as a concomitant polyneuritis. Mendel thinks that this is also true of numerous other diseases, among them especially diphtheria. The present type of diphtheria, as we have probably all observed, is a departure from that of Bretonnieu, so classically differentiated from ordinary membranous croup and called "diphtherite" in the early part of the present century. The earlier descriptions of general paralysis of the insane, made by Bayle, 1822, 1825, 1826, and Calmiel, 1826, preceded by the nebulous recognition of the disease by Willis in 1672 and Haslam in 1798 to 1809, were accounts of chronic cases as observed by alienists in hospitals for the insane. . . .