General paralysis of the insane (GPI) or dementia paralytica was once a fatal complication of syphilitic infection and a major reason for psychiatric hospitalization. Nowadays, physicians consider GPI to be exceptional. It should be noted, however, that syphilis re-emerged worldwide at the turn of the 20th to 21st century and a revival of GPI can, therefore, be expected. Advanced diagnosis is crucial in that treatment in the early, inflammatory phase is warranted before irreversible tissue damage occurs. Therefore, a renewed clinical awareness of the broad spectrum of psychiatric and neurologic signs and symptoms of GPI is needed. In this historical cohort study, comprising 105 patients with GPI admitted to the Dutch Vincent van Gogh Psychiatric Hospital in the period 1924-1954, the clinical presentation of this invalidating disorder is investigated and described in detail.

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