Today, even long-retired psychiatrists are unlikely to recall having seen more than some occasional cases of syphilis-induced paralytic dementia. But not many generations earlier, ‘general paresis of the insane’ accounted for some 10% – even as much as a third – of the admissions to mental hospitals in Europe and the USA. All that began to change on the day in August of 1909 when Paul Ehrlich fired the first ‘magic bullet’.
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