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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Can grandchildren of a syphilitic grandfather develop mental

Customer Question

Can grandchildren of a syphilitic grandfather develop mental health issues? As well, can the children of an untreated syphilitic father (who went untreated) develop other brain diseases?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 2 years ago.
This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area.
Hello, I believe I can help you with your concern. Congenital syphilis is only possible if the mother has syphilis while being pregnant with a child. So because your grandfather had syphilis it would not have transferred genetically to his children in utero. But it is possible for your grand-mother to have had syphilis while pregnant since she was having sexual relations with your grand-father at the time. Still it would be impossible for your grand-father's (or your grand-mother's) syphilitic infection to affect his (or her's) grandchildren.
Congenital syphilitic infections are rare and usually the child will develop many physical symptoms as well as mental health symptoms. Physical symptoms that are common would be abnormal teeth, hearing impairment, anemia, issues with mucous production in nasal cavities, and abnormal bone development just to name a few. In addition, the mental health/neurological symptoms that would occur with congenital syphilis would not be just anxiety, ADHD, depression, or learning disabilities as the individual would have marked lower intelligence and possible mental retardation, as this is the most common mental health symptom associated with congenital syphilis. Because you did not mental marked lowered intelligence or mental retardation as factors involved than likely these mental health symptoms are not caused by Congenital Syphilis.
So overall there are no studies that have proven that congenital syphilis would affect multiple generations of individuals and only occurs if the mother has a syphilitic infection while pregnant with a child. The mental health symptoms and tumors you mentioned most likely are not caused by syphilis according to most recent scientific evidence.
I hope this answers your questions and gives you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.
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