JAMA. 1913;61(14):1281-1285. doi:10.1001/jama.1913.04350150037012.
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The honor of having first discovered a relationship between paresis and syphilis belongs to Esmarch and Jessen. These observers in 1857 reported three cases of paresis, the cause of which they attributed to syphilis. Thus a controversy of this subject began which has lasted for more than half a century. The consensus of medical opinion has held that in the great majority of cases syphilis is the chief etiologic factor which causes paresis. Of the opponents of this doctrine Näcke was the most extreme. He considered a neuropathic inheritance as a most important cause and assigned to syphilis an equal importance among other etiologic factors, maintaining that it often furnished the last offense for the development of the disease. It was not until the discovery of the Wassermann reaction and its regular observance in both the blood and spinal fluid of paretics that the doctrine of no syphilis, no paresis,


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