The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1927
Born: 7 March 1857, Wels, Austria
Died: 27 September 1940, Vienna, Austria
Affiliation at the time of the award: Vienna University, Vienna, Austria
Prize motivation: “for his discovery of the therapeutic value of malaria inoculation in the treatment of dementia paralytica”
Prize share: 1/1
General paralysis is a stage in syphilis when the brain and psyche are attacked and the patient ends up in a lethargic and paralytic state that can end in death. As far back as antiquity, people noted that mental illnesses could be ameliorated by fevers. In 1917 Julius Wagner-Jauregg exposed patients to malaria-infected blood and could in this way cure or alleviate general paralysis. The malaria was of a type that was comparatively innocuous, and consequently the patient’s health could be improved.