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Classic Articles   |    
Neurodegenerative DisordersJames Parkinson's Essay on the Shaking Palsy
Thomas C. Neylan, M.D., Section Editor
The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2002;14:222-222. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.14.2.222
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Classic ArticlesParkinson, JamesParkinson's Disease

James Parkinson (1755—1824) is considered the father of modern paleontology and a pioneer in geology, pediatrics, child welfare, and physical chemistry.1 However, in our field, he is best known for the disorder that bears his name. Parkinson's disease is a prototypical neuropsychiatric disorder that affects multiple systems regulating motor function, mood, perception, and cognition.2 Parkinson's original description of the disorder, reprinted here, was published in 1817 as a short monograph in London.3

Parkinson was an astute observer whose report contains observations from three patients he saw in his clinic as well as three individuals he observed on city streets. Much of the description of the longitudinal course of the illness was derived from his observations of a single case (Case I). His original report has clear descriptions of resting tremor, rigidity, and disturbances in gait and posture. He speculated that the pathology of the disorder would be localized to the medulla. He appealed for future anatomic studies to examine the neural substrate of the disorder.

For fifty years after publication, there was little attention paid to this report.4 In 1861, Charcot and colleagues at the Salpêtrière further distinguished the disorder from other neurologic disorders and were first to use the term "Parkinson's disease."5

Pearn J, Gardner-Thorpe C: James Parkinson (1755-1824): a pioneer of child care. J Paediatr Child Health  2001; 37:9-13
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Cummings JL: Understanding Parkinson disease. JAMA  1999; 281:376-378
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Parkinson J: An Essay on the Shaking Palsy. London, Sherwood, Neely and Jones, 1817
 
Louis ED: The shaking palsy, the first forty-five years: a journey through the British literature. Mov Disord  1997; 12:1068-1072
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Goetz CG, Chmura TA, Lanska DJ: The history of Parkinson's disease: part 2 of the MDS-sponsored History of Movement Disorders Exhibit, Barcelona, June 2000. Mov Disord  2001; 16:156-161
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
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References

Pearn J, Gardner-Thorpe C: James Parkinson (1755-1824): a pioneer of child care. J Paediatr Child Health  2001; 37:9-13
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Cummings JL: Understanding Parkinson disease. JAMA  1999; 281:376-378
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Parkinson J: An Essay on the Shaking Palsy. London, Sherwood, Neely and Jones, 1817
 
Louis ED: The shaking palsy, the first forty-five years: a journey through the British literature. Mov Disord  1997; 12:1068-1072
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Goetz CG, Chmura TA, Lanska DJ: The history of Parkinson's disease: part 2 of the MDS-sponsored History of Movement Disorders Exhibit, Barcelona, June 2000. Mov Disord  2001; 16:156-161
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
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