general paralysis of the insane

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general paralysis of the insane

n
(Pathology) a disease of the central nervous system: a late manifestation of syphilis, often occurring up to 15 years after the original infection, characterized by mental deterioration, speech defects, and progressive paralysis. Abbreviation: GPI Also called: general paresis or dementia paralytica
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
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Wagner-Jauregg reported that a tuberculin injection caused long-term remission of psychotic and other symptoms of syphilis, which were called the "general paresis of the insane," or dementia paralytica. Thinking that this worked by causing fever, Wagner-Jauregg switched to giving such patients malaria infections, which may have elicited stronger and more reproducible fevers.
Three of these were discharged as being cured of dementia paralytica; three improved but later worsened; two experienced no change in psychosis; one developed a severe "paralytic melancholy"; and another died of malaria.
Given its apparent success in treating dementia paralytica, a few clinicians went on to test the malaria pyrotherapy on schizophrenia patients.

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