Syphilis, like Lyme disease can have a long, asymptomatic latency period. Frequently infected persons are unaware of the illness until horrible manifestations occur. Syphilis is a relatively rare condition in non HIV infected individuals today. It was once a common and devastating disease affecting all tiers of society. Neurosyphilis, a form of tertiary, disseminated disease could be associated with a condition called "general paresis." This is a term familiar to every third year medical student. Syphilis in the brain could lead to insanity and dementia. The famous gangster, Al Copone became demented in Alcatraz due to this ailment. Many famous and infamous figures from the pages of history have been reported to suffer with the ravages of syphilis in its various forms. Today syphilis is still treated with only one drug- penicillin. The results with stage one and stage 2 syphilis are good. Once the spirochete has infected the brain the prognosis is still grim- patients do not generally improve.
Most of our knowledge about the natural history of syphilis comes from the Tuskegee experiment. Black males, without their knowledge, were followed for untreated syphilis for 40 years, from 1932 until 1972. The study was only stopped when its gruesome details were uncovered in a news story in the Washington Star. The physicians involved in the study felt no remorse. Comparison with Dr. Mengele of Nazi fame seems quite appropriate. The study was conducted by the US PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE- a predecessor to today's CDC. The important data was collected from autopsies of the victims. A doctor involved in the study said: "We have no further interest in these patients until they die."
There were no Nuremberg trials. The physicians claimed they were only following orders. No responsible parties were ever punished.
This heinous, despicable, racist "study" was conducted by OUR GOVERNMENT, in the name of "science". And it was bad science! There was no treated control group. We don't know how often treated syphilis patients go on to develop tertiary disease. The same of course can be said for Lyme. Some cynical Lymies believe that the experiment is happening all over again. These historical precedents justifiably create a sense of distrust of our government.
We do know that spirochetes in the brain are deadly, as is clearly known in the case of syphilis. Neuroborrelios exists. This is not disputed by IDSA types. LLMDS believe that this condition is common. Many of our patients have dramatic mental status changes, abnormal brain MRIs and abnormal SPECT scans.
How can mainstream medicine be so cavalier? How can they be so sure that their patients are not suffering with devastating spirochetal infection of the brain?