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November 24, 1923


Author Affiliations

Chief of Therapeutic Research, Boston Psychopathic Hospital; Instructor in Psychiatry and Neuropathology, Medical School of Harvard University BOSTON

JAMA. 1923;81(21):1742-1748. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02650210008003

In considering the possibility of treatment of syphilis of the central nervous system, there are certain factors that must be given particular attention. Among these may be mentioned the potency of our antisyphilitic drugs, the varying virulence of the spirochetes in each case, the peculiarities of the central nervous system, whereby it is more or less separated from the viscera, the localization of the spirochetes within the central nervous system, and the pathologic processes produced.

It must be admitted that our present-day antisyphilitic remedies, especially arsphenamin, mercury and the iodids, are far from ideally satisfactory in the treatment of syphilis, no matter what the stage of the disease. Even in the early primary stage of syphilis, it takes quite a large amount of treatment with these drugs to produce what is considered a cure, and there is a certain amount of evidence that leads one to doubt whether an actual