Medicine: B for Syphilis

When a syphilitic has harbored spirochetes for 15 or 20 years, they finally, migrate to his brain or spinal cord. He finds that his knees buckle under him, his hands jump, he cannot turn or close his eyes without falling. Faced with madness or paralysis, he is generally willing to undergo any heroic measure to set his world straight again. One of the best treatments for neurosyphilis (including tabes dorsalis, general paresis) is injections of tryparsamide, a penetrating arsenic compound. Tryparsamide has one tremendous drawback: it sometimes injures, sometimes destroys, the optic nerve,...

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