It is ironical that of the two greatest Austrian psychiatrists, Freud and Wagner-Jauregg, Freud is now a household name throughout the world, whereas Wagner-Jauregg is hardly known outside German-speaking countries. Yet his work brought him the highest honours not only in his own country and was crowned by the award of the Nobel prize in 1927. The reason for the reversal of their reputations is not far to seek. The Nobel prize was awarded to Wagner-Jauregg for his malaria treatment of general paralysis of the insane (GPI), a severe and fatal form of neurosyphilis, which saved untold thousands of lives. Today GPI is rarely seen because syphilis can now be successfully treated with antibiotics. Wagner-Jauregg also did pioneering work into the relationship between thyroid deficiency and cretinism, which in those days was still in a speculative state, but his name is hardly ever mentioned in this context. He had the misfortune to publish in journals with a more restricted circulation than those in which the results of Schiff's and Kocher's work appeared.
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