For many years the occurrence of smooth atrophy of the base of the tongue in cases of syphilis was handed down as a tradition in Virchow's laboratory in Berlin and from this source chiefly the first knowledge of the condition was disseminated.
Since the publication of Lewin and Heller,1 however, in 1894, comparatively little has been written about smooth atrophy of the base of the tongue in reference to its diagnostic value in syphilis. In their series of 6,583 cases which came to autopsy in the Charité Hospital in Berlin, 200 presented a history of syphilis, 156 acquired and forty-four congenital. Of these, eighty-five cases of acquired syphilis showed no smooth atrophy. One hundred and three cases presented smooth atrophy of the base of the tongue and of these, seventy-one (69 per cent.) have a definite syphilitic history. Thus, in 45 per cent. of cases of acquired syphilis smooth
MILNE LS. SMOOTH ATROPHY OF THE TONGUE. JAMA. 1911;LVII(13):1040–1042. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260090262006
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