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Yale J Biol Med. 2013 Jun 13;86(2):245-54. Print 2013 Jun.

Julius Wagner-Jauregg and the legacy of malarial therapy for the treatment of general paresis of the insane.

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Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Julius Wagner-Jauregg, a preeminent Austrian psychiatrist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1927 for the development of malaria therapy for the treatment of neurosyphilis, or general paresis of the insane. Despite being only one of three psychiatrists to win a Nobel Prize, he has faded from public consciousness and his name recognition pales in comparison to his contemporary and fellow Austrian, Sigmund Freud. This paper explores his contributions to the field of biological psychiatry and also touches upon reasons, such as the growing bioethics movement, his controversial affiliation with the Nazi Party, and the evolution of neurosyphilis, that explain why Wagner-Jauregg is not more widely celebrated for his contributions to the field of psychiatry, even though his malarial treatment could be considered the earliest triumph of biological psychiatry over psychoanalysis.


Julius Wagner-Jauregg; Nobel Prize; biological psychiatry; general paresis of the insane; malarial therapy; neurosyphilis; psychopharmacology

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