The lesion of paretic dementia is that of a diffuse parenchymatous atrophy of the nerve cells and part, at least, of the neuroglia. This process is essentially chronic and involves more or less the whole of the cortex, even extending to the basal ganglia and the cord. The well-known vascular changes start in the minute arterioles and in a slow but progressive manner involve the nutrition of the cells thereby causing degeneration of the neurons and neuroglia. The cortical substance undergoes atrophic changes and the lymph spaces dilate or widen; the lymph currents are interfered with —they are laden with debris—and ultimately the combined processes produce profound degenerative changes.
The question of the cause of this now well-recognized degeneration is seemingly in dispute, but I dare say that we all feel that there should be but little controversy over this question, when in the light of the accumulated knowledge of
NORBURY FP. THE ETIOLOGY OF PARETIC DEMENTIA. JAMA. 1901;XXXVII(13):832–834. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.62470390034001h
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