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Unformatted text preview: omes cloudy, and the character
alters (irritability, depressed mood, changed purpose, lowered will); another lumbar puncture and presto!--the
individual is for a time made over more completely than conversion changes a sinner,--and more easily.
Take the case of the disease known as General Paresis, officially called Dementia Paralytica. This disease is
caused by syphilis and is one of its late results. The pathological changes are widespread throughout the brain
but may at the onset be confined mostly to the frontal lobes. The very first change may be--and usually is--a
change in character! The man hitherto kind and gentle becomes irritable, perhaps even brutal. One whose sex
morals have been of the most conventional kind, a loyal husband, suddenly becomes a profligate, reckless and
debauched, perhaps even perverted. The man of firm purposes and indefatigable industry may lose his grip
upon the ambitions and strivings of his lifetime and become an inert slacker, to the amazement of his
associates. Many a fine character, many a splendid mind, has reached a lofty height and then crumbled before
the assaults of this disease upon the brain. Philosopher, poet, artist, statesman, captain of industry,
handicraftsman, peasant, courtesan and housewife,--all are lowered to the same level of dementia and
destroyed character by the consequences of the thickened meninges, the altered blood vessels and the injured
Now and then one is fortunate enough to treat with success an early case of General Paresis. And then the
reversed miracle takes place, unfortunately too rarely! The disordered mind, the altered character, leaps
upward to its old place,--after being dosed by the marvelous drug Salvarsan, created by the German Jewish
scientist, Paul Ehrlich.
Of extraordinary interest are the rare cases of loss of personal identity seen after brain injury, say in war. A
man is knocked unconscious by a blow and upon restoration of consciousness is separated from that past in
which his ego resides. He does not know...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11