PROPOSED: That the Department of Health considers that the
treatment of neurosyphilis with insulin shock therapy [IPT] is deserving
of comprehensive scientific investigation.
Mexico, D.F., September 21, 1939
The Senior Official of the Secretary of National Defense. Calle de la
Moneda. C I U D A D.
The General Official of the Anti-venereal Disease Campaign through
memorandum No. 36-11-1198 dated the 11th of this month, has sent to the
General Secretary copies of the memorandum No. 36-11-1101 dated August
2Oth of last year, and through these communications has made known in that
office the contents of your official notice no. 05844, Exp. F/512.5/11
dated August 3rd, in relation to which it is my pleasure to inform you of
"The Department of Public Health is aware of a number of
experiments performed by Dr. Donato P. Garcia both in this country and in
Boston, Washington, and Austin, Texas, in the U.S.A. concerning the
treatment of syphilis -- - in particular neurosyphilis -- - using a
modality called insulin shock therapy."
"As demonstrated in the above experiments, and as corroborated by
the opinions of medical specialists both in the U.S.A. and this country,
the treatment of neurosyphilis by the insulin shock therapy is something
that is based on rigorous fundamentals of science. The results obtained
have revealed that the curing or improvement produced is much more rapid,
as indicated both by the clinical evolution of the patients under
treatment and the changes in the serologic reactions of their blood and
The reactions observed as a consequence of the insulin shock were at
first alarming, however to the degree that the technique of application
for the procedure became more perfected, these reactions have become
diminished -- - showing the actual innocuousness of the procedure, while
the question yet remains whether the curing of syphilis by same is
radically effective or not, and it will be necessary to have more complete
documentation on a larger series of cases and over a longer period of time
to permit arriving at any definite conclusions about this illness with its
natural evolution particularly after long term treatment.
We think that this treatment has produced good results, particularly in
cases of early syphilis, while older more advanced forms of the disease
with scarred lesions have not responded as well.
Because of this and other reasons, this Department considers that the
treatment of neurosyphilis by insulin shock therapy deserves intensive
scientific investigation by virtue of its propositions being of such great
theoretical and practical interest.
We consider that it would be well worth our effort to undertake this
interesting study on account of its future possibilities, and on account
of this Mexican doctor who has created this initiative, whose treatment is
economical, and which work is already supported by a certain force of
I offer you my sincerest regards and most distinguished consideration.
THE SECRETARY GENERAL.
(signed) Dr. Alberto P. Leon.
<return to Documents