An Essay on the Shaking Palsy

In 1817, London surgeon James Parkinson first described ‘paralysis agitans’ or the ‘shaking palsy’ that Charcot was later to call the ‘maladie de Parkinson‘ or Parkinson’s disease. It is an interesting read if for no reason other than to demonstrate how far we have come in terms of understanding the pathology of PD (“a disordered state of the medulla contained in the cervical vertebrae”) and it’s proposed treatment (bloodletting from the neck, applying “Sabine Liniment” to cause a blister and laxatives). It also shows how 200 years on, close observation and a detailed clinical history are crucial in coming to a diagnosis.

An Essay on the Shaking Palsy

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