Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder, affecting up to 10 million people worldwide according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Epidemiological and genetic studies show a preponderance of idiopathic cases and a subset linked to genetic polymorphisms of a familial nature. Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda recognized and treated the illness that Western Medicine terms PD millennia ago, and descriptions of Parkinson’s symptomatology by Europeans date back 2000 years to the ancient Greek physician Galen. However, the Western nosological classification now referred to in English as “Parkinson’s disease” and the description of symptoms that define it, are accredited to British physician James Parkinson, who in 1817 authored The Shaking Palsy. Later in the nineteenth century, French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot re-labeled paralysis agitans “Parkinson’s disease” and over a century of scientific research ensued. This review discusses European, North American, and Asian contributions to the understanding and treatment of PD from ancient times through the twentieth century.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Blonder, Lee Xenakis, "Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Parkinson's Disease" (2018). Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Faculty Publications. 92.
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