MASSIMO ALIVERTI1, B. PEZZONI3, ILARIA GORINI3, MARIANO MARTINI5, IGNAZIO VECCHIO2, CRISTINA TORNALI4
1University of Insubria (Varese), Italy - 2Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catania, Italy - 3Department of Biotechnology and Life Sciences, University of Insubria (Varese), Italy - 4Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, University of Catania, Italy - 5Department of Health Sciences (DISSAL), Section of History of Medicine and Ethics, University of Genoa, Italy
Based on Italian and international literature, the authors have studied nineteenth-century research into neurosyphilis in its main syndromic manifestations: tabes dorsalis and progressive paralysis. By examining some psychiatry handbooks of the time, it was possible to recover ample information about the symptomatology and the description of the clinical course of the illness. Moreover, the relationship between syphilis and mental illness became a conceptual paradigm which psychiatrists applied to other mental disorders as well. Our paper has brought to light the medical debates of the late 19th century.
Neurosyphilis, progressive paralysis, tabes dorsalis, psychiatry