‘No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.’ –Antonin Artaud


Many scholars have argued that Nietzsche’s dementia was caused by syphilis. A careful review of the evidence suggests that this consensus is probably incorrect. The syphilis hypothesis is not compatible with most of the evidence available. Other hypotheses – such as slowly growing right-sided retro-orbital meningioma – provide a more plausible fit to the evidence.

{ Journal of Medical Biography | PDF }

From his late 20s onward, Nietzsche experienced severe, generally right- sided headaches. He concurrently suffered a progressive loss of vision in his right eye and developed cranial nerve findings that were documented on neurological examinations in addition to a disconjugate gaze evident in photographs. His neurological findings are consistent with a right-sided frontotemporal mass. In 1889, Nietzsche also developed a new-onset mania which was followed by a dense abulia, also consistent with a large frontal tumor. […] An intracranial mass may have been the etiology of his headaches and neurological findings and the cause of his ultimate mental collapse in 1889.

{ Neurosurgery | PDF }