General paresis

Definition of General paresis

General paresis is an impairment of mental function caused by damage to the brain from untreated syphilis.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

General paresis is one form of . Today it is very rare.

Signs and tests

Signs include:


The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and slow the disorder from getting worse. The doctor will prescribe penicillin or other antibiotics, such as doxycycline, to treat the infection. Treatment may continue until the infection has completely cleared.

Expectations (prognosis)

Without treatment, people can become disabled. People with infections are more likely to get other infections and diseases.


Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/9/2010

Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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