“Malaria Therapy for Neurosyphilis” – Sarah M. Halter @ Cafe Inquiry

PUBLIC LECTURE, October 19th, 7pm CENTER FOR INQUIRY, DOWNTOWN INDIANAPOLISCafe Inquiry October 2016 Indiana Medical History Museum

CINSO and the Center for Inquiry of Indiana co-host the monthly lecture series “Cafe Inquiry.”



Before penicillin, general paralysis, a form of neurosyphilis, was a common cause of institutionalization in mental hospitals like Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane.  With no available treatments for the disease, patients there could only expect to receive final care.  Once symptoms developed, most died within two years.

The 1910 miracle drug for syphilis, Salvarsan 606, had no effect on neurosyphilis, but could one deadly disease be used to treat another?  In this talk, Sarah Halter will discuss the development and efficacy of malaria therapy for neurosyphilis, its use at Central State Hospital beginning in 1925, and the gradual abandonment of it in favor of penicillin in the late 1940s.



Sarah M. Halter is the Executive Director of the Indiana Medical History Museum, in Indianapolis, Indiana. She received her BA in Anthropology and Philosophy and MA in Museum Studies, both from IUPUI. A compulsive volunteer, Sarah currently serves as Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Indianapolis and Secretary of the Southern Association for the History of Science and Medicine and is past President of the Hoosier Chapter of the Victorian Society in America. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Indiana Museums and Youth Enhancement & Training Initiative (YETI), whose primary mission is to fully fund the YETI orphanage it established in Rampur, Nepal in 2005. When she does find herself with nothing to do, Sarah loves history-themed road trips, reading, and all things Sci-Fi.