“In the winter of 1883, a psychiatric assistant named Julius Wagner-Jauregg was working in an Austrian asylum when he witnessed something curious. While making his rounds, Wagner-Jauregg encountered a woman with psychotic delusions who had caught a skin infection, which caused a high fever. But once her temperature resolved, she became coherent, and her symptoms of psychosis disappeared. Wagner-Jauregg spent the next decades of his career attempting to replicate that observation: he exposed people with mental illness to different types of infection to induce fever. But he had relatively little success until 1917, when he started injecting patients who had developed psychosis as a result of late-stage syphilis with blood from soldiers with malaria. The technique seemed to work, according to reports at the time; upwards of half of patients returned to normal life after they received it. The treatment, referred to as malariotherapy, was used in thousands of patients across the world during the 1920s and 1930s1. It was so well regarded at the time that Wagner-Jauregg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1927 for his development of the treatment.” …..continued……

Wetsman N: Inflammatory illness: Why the next wave of antidepressants may target the immune system. Nature Medicine 23(9):1009-1011 (2017).



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