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Eur Neurol. 2018;80(1-2):82-86. doi: 10.1159/000493866. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Comparison of Clinical and Laboratory Characteristics of General Paresis and Non-Neurosyphilis Dementia.

Tong ML1,2, Chen YY1,3, Zhu XZ1, Gao K1,2, Zhang HL1,2, Zheng WH1,2, Wang HR1, Liu LL1,2, Lin Y1,2, Lin LR1,2, Yang TC4,5.

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Zhongshan Hospital, Medical College of Xiamen University, Xiamen, China.
Institute of Infectious Disease, Medical College of Xiamen University, Xiamen, China.
Xiamen City Fifth Hospital, Xiamen, China.
Zhongshan Hospital, Medical College of Xiamen University, Xiamen,
Institute of Infectious Disease, Medical College of Xiamen University, Xiamen,



The differential diagnosis of general paresis (GP) and non-neurosyphilis (NS) dementia is not clearly defined. The present study examined the differences in clinical and laboratory features of GP and non-NS dementia.


We retrospectively examined clinical and laboratory features of 85 GP patients and 196 non-NS dementia patients. Data were collected from Zhongshan Hospital between June 2005 and June 2014.


The GP group had a higher percentage of males (83.53%, 71/85) and younger median age ([52 [interquartile range 47.0-61.0] vs. 76 [68.3-82.0] years) than the non-NS dementia group. GP have higher Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE; Z = -5.809; p = 0.000) than non-NS dementia. Distribution of CDR scores were significantly higher in the non-NS group than GP group (χ2 = 29.153; p = 0.000). The laboratory findings showed significantly different total cholesterol (CH), low-density lipoprotein CH and homocysteine levels between the 2 groups. Serologic testing for syphilis revealed that the GP group had higher seropositive rapid plasma reagin (RPR) and Treponema pallidum particle agglutination (TPPA) rates than the non-NS dementia group (96.47% [82/85] vs. 0.51% [1/196], Z = -2.663, p = 0.008; 100% [85/85] vs. 1.02% [2/196], Z = -2.663, p = 0.008). Interestingly, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biochemical indices, including pleocytosis rates, increased protein levels, and positive RPR and TPPA rates in the GP group were higher than that in the non-NS dementia group.


Based on these preliminary data, patients with clinically evident symptoms of dementia, especially middle-aged males, should undergo blood tests for syphilis. All patients with positive serology results should undergo CSF examinations to diagnose GP dementia before further pharmaceutical and behavioral interventions.


Dementia; Differential diagnosis; General paresis; Neurosyphilis

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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