Neurological complications in the third (tertiary) and final phase of syphilis, which involve the central nervous system and can include psychosis, pain, and loss of physical control over a variety of bodily functions.
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Infection of the central nervous system by Treponema pallidum, or syphilis; there are several subdivisions, including asymptomatic n., meningeal n., meningovascular n., paretic n., and tabetic n..
- asymptomatic n. clinically inapparent (except for possible abnormal pupils) syphilitic meningeal infection, diagnosed by examination of the cerebrospinal fluid; if untreated, often develops into some form of symptomatic n..
- meningeal n. syphilitic meningeal infection producing an afebrile clinical meningitis, with headache, stiff neck, obtusion, etc., and abnormal CSF findings. Most often develops within 2 years of initial infection.
- meningovascular n. syphilitic meningeal infection accompanied by changes (inflammation, fibrous thickening) in the walls of the subarachnoid arteries, manifested as a stroke, with sudden onset of symptoms such as hemiplegia, aphasia, visual disturbances, etc., and abnormal CSF findings.
- paretic n. syphilitic infection manifested as dementia (often with delusional features), dysarthria, seizures, myoclonic jerks, action tremor, impaired walking and standing, pupillary abnormalities, and abnormal CSF findings. SYN: chronic progressive syphilitic meningoencephalitis, general paresis.
- tabetic n. type of n. in which the posterior roots of the spinal cord, especially in the lumbosacral area, are the principal sites of infection, resulting in ataxia, hypotonia, impotence, constipation, hypotonic bladder, areflexia, and Romberg sign; other findings include lancinating pains (most often in the legs), visceral crises, Argyll Robertson pupils, optic atrophy, and Charcot joints; in most patients, the CSF is abnormal. SYN: myelosyphilis, posterior sclerosis, posterior spinal sclerosis.

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neu·ro·syph·i·lis -'sif-(ə-)ləs n syphilis of the central nervous system

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syphilis affecting the nervous system.

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neu·ro·syph·i·lis (noor″o-sifґĭ-lis) [neuro- + syphilis] the central nervous system manifestations of syphilis, which may be divided into two groups: asymptomatic and symptomatic; the latter includes meningovascular and parenchymatous neurosyphilis (see general paresis, under paresis, and tabes dorsalis).

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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