It was in 1817 that a London doctor, James Parkinson (His birthday happens to be on the 11th of April), published “An essay on the shaking palsy” and established Parkinson’s disease as a recognised medical condition. The French neurologist Jean Martin Charcot named the disease after him 60 years later.
Parkinson's disease (PD also known as idiopathic or primary parkinsonism, hypokinetic rigid syndrome/HRS, or paralysis agitans) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in a region of the midbrain; the cause of this cell death is unknown. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement-related; these include stiffness, shaking, slow movement and difficulty with walking and gait. Later, thinking and behavioural problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease, whereas depression is the most common psychiatric symptom. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep and emotional problems. Parkinson's disease is more common in older people, with most cases occurring after the age of 50.
The red tulip is used as a symbol of the disease. A number of famous people have increased public awareness of the condition. They include Michael J. Fox (Actor), Davis Phinney (Olympic cyclist), Muhammad Ali (Professional boxer).
Parkinson’s Awareness Week, which will run from 7 to 13 April 2014, is an annual opportunity to raise public awareness and build understanding of the condition.
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