Parkinson Pocket Guide

Chapter 1: Introduction to Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive, neurodegenerativedisorder that clinically manifests at >60 years of age. In Western medicalliterature it was described by the prominent Greek physician and surgeonGalen of Pergamon as “shaking palsy” in AD 175. Despite its ancientorigins, PD was not officially described until 1817 when the Londondoctor James Parkinson published it in a medical essay entitled “An Essayon the Shaking Palsy”. This publication was based on the physician’sobservation of six clinical cases and successfully established PD as awidely recognized medical disorder. Four decades later, the Frenchphysician Jean-Martin Charcot officially named the condition ParkinsonDisease in honor of its discoverer. Charcot even developed a therapeuticvibratory chair attempt to relieve signs and symptoms by shaking thebody; a helmet was later added to specifically shake the brain.