An Essay on the Shaking Palsy

Author: James Parkinson
Published: 1817
Language: English
Wordcount: 13,276 / 47 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 47.4
LoC Category: R
Downloads: 2,685
Added to site: 2007.12.10
mnybks.net#: 19331
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genre: Health
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Excerpt

rembling of the arms about five years before. His application was on account of a considerable degree of inflammation over the lower ribs on the left side, which terminated in the formation of matter beneath the fascia. About a pint was removed on making the necessary opening; and a considerable quantity discharged daily for two or three weeks. On his recovery from this, no change appeared to have taken place in his original complaint; and the opportunity of learning its future progress was lost by his removal to a distant part of the country.

CASE V.

In another case, the particulars of which could not be obtained, and the gentleman, the lamented subject of which was only seen at a distance, one of the characteristic symptoms of this malady, the inability for motion, except in a running pace, appeared to exist in an extraordinary degree. It seemed to be necessary that the gentleman should be supported by his attendant, standing before him with a hand placed on each shoulder, until, by gently swa

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Average Rating of 5 from 1 reviews: *****
2008.02.01
Alastair Scott
*****

This is a remarkable essay - way ahead of its time. The author deduces that Parkinson's disease is a distinctive condition with clearly defined symptoms and, presciently, that it is intrinsic to the brain (not caused by, for example, excessive alcohol or tea/coffee consumption), although his thoughts on treatment and possible cure are a stab in the dark - hardly a surprise as, at the time, there was almost no understanding of brain function. He also notes the characteristic symptoms, such as the distinctive gait of sufferers and the counter-intuitive fact that supporting a shaking limb actually increases the tremor, and their progression over time.

I have two relatives with the disease and, I must say, I was stunned by the readability and accuracy of the clinical description.


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