This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Go to /pro/cpd-dashboard page

This page is worth 0.05 CPD credits. CPD dashboard

Go to /account/subscription-details page

This page is worth 0.05 CPD credits. Upgrade to Pro

Cerebral syphilis

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

General paralysis of the insane is a syndrome of madness and weakness occurring in tertiary syphilis, which is now very rare because of treatment with penicillin.

The signs of this condition are usually those of:

  • sudden personality change
  • radical alteration of the patient's previous ethical and moral standards
  • development of extravagant and grandiose behaviour
  • the clinical picture then seems to level out and then is followed by a progressive dementing illness
  • there may be an accompanying affective state of flat euphoria
  • the patient may have Argyll-Robertson pupils


  • CSF pressure is often slightly raised
  • microscopy shows an excess of mononuclear cells and protein with a marked increase in globulin fraction
  • serology is always positive

Death usually occurs within three years.

Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Annotations allow you to add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation. E.g. a website or number. This information will always show when you visit this page.

The content herein is provided for informational purposes and does not replace the need to apply professional clinical judgement when diagnosing or treating any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.


Copyright 2024 Oxbridge Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of OmniaMed Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence.