45 - The French Disease at 500

In 1495, a mysterious and deadly plague struck the city of Naples. Over the next 500 years, the medical attempts to understand and treat this new disease -- syphilis -- would mold and shape medicine in surprising ways. In this episode, Tony Breu and I will perform an historical and physiological biography of syphilis, covering the development of germ theory, epic poetry, mercury saunas, intentionally infecting patients with malaria, magic bullets, and lots and lots of experiments on poor rabbits. This presentation was performed live at the American College of Physicians’ national meeting in Philadelphia on April 11, 2019.   Sources (WARNING -- LONG LIST):   Swain, K. ‘Extraordinarily arduous and fraught with danger’: syphilis, Salvarsan, and general paresis of the insane. Lancet Psychiatry 5, (2018).   Kępa, M. et al. Analysis of mercury levels in historical bone material from syphilitic subjects – pilot studies (short report). Kępa Małgorzata 69, 367-377(11) (2012).   Forrai, J. 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Journal of Clinical Pathology, 1981   Kamath SU et al, Mercury-based traditional herbo-metallic preparations: a toxicological perspective, Archives of Toxicology 2012.   Yeter et al, Mercury Promotes Catecholamines Which Potentiate Mercurial Autoimmunity and Vasodilation: Implications for Inositol 1,4,5-Triphosphate 3-Kinase C Susceptibility in Kawasaki Syndrome. Korean Circulation Journal 2013   Wöβmann W et al, Mercury intoxication presenting with hypertension and tachycardia. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1999   Giacani L et al, Identification of the Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum TP0092 (RpoE) Regulon and Its Implications for Pathogen Persistence in the Host and Syphilis Pathogenesis. Journal of Bacteriology 2013.   Edwards AM, From tooth to hoof: treponemes in tissue‐destructive diseases. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2003   Wolgemuth CW, Flagellar motility of the pathogenic spirochetes. 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