Dr. Burzio has made a laborious investigation of the state of the spinal cord in fifteen cases, which include imbecility, epileptic insanity or idiocy, primary dementia, melancholia, senile insanity, and secondary dementia. He has not made a special study of the cord in general paralysis and pellagrous insanity, as this has been already carefully examined. In the beginning of his contribution Dr. Burzio cites the previous observations of Stewart, Feist, Mondio, and Petrazzani. In his important work “On the Anatomical and Pathological Differences between Primary and Secondary Degenerations of the Nervous Centres,” which appeared in the Rivista Sperimentale di Freniatria, vol. xxi, 1896, p. 788, Vassale has shown the general characters of degeneration of the spinal cord in dementia, and admitted their primary nature. After detailing his methods of investigation and preparation, Dr. Burzio describes his fifteen observations. In three of these, two cases of melancholia and one of senile insanity, no lesions were found in the spinal cord; in the others some alterations were found, the most common being degeneration of Goll's tract (eleven times), occasionally combined with degeneration of the crossed pyramidal tract (three times). Hypertrophy of the neuroglia was rare. Degeneration of the nerve-cells of the spinal ganglia was also frequently met with. These alterations in the nerve-fibre of the spinal cord and of the spinal ganglia were sometimes associated with atrophy of the cerebral convolutions and of the cells of the grey substance of the spinal cord, and were often accompanied by a diseased condition of the liver, kidneys, and spleen.
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