The Movement Disorder Society

MDS 17th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, Volume 28,
June 2013 Abstract Supplement

Movement Disorders 2013
Sydney, Australia June 16-20, 2013.


Parkinson's disease in history

Kaadan ,  A.N.

Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic

Objective:

The aim of this paper is to provide the historical different stages in which Parkinson's disease developed.

Background:

It is well known that Parkinson's disease is a very old disease, which was historically mentioned and discussed by some old civilizations, about 7000 years ago.

Methods:

This paper was accomplished by going back to some historical texts of an old medical books such as Al-Qanunn book of Avicenna. Some other books related to history of medicine were reviewed as well to trace this disease.

Results:

Symptoms and possible treatments for Parkinson's disease are discussed in Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical practice that has been around since as early as 5000 BC. It is claimed that there are references to the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in both the old and new testaments of the Bible. In the Illiad, which, along with the Odyssey are claimed to have been written by Homer in the eighth century B.C., the septuagenarian King Nestor describes symptoms that appear to be those of Parkinson's disease. Avicenna (c980-1037), discussed the various forms of motor unrest in his chapter on nervous disorders in the Qanunn of Medicine. There is a reference to shaking palsy in the second part of Henry VI, during an exchange between Dick and Say. Parkinson's disease was first formally described in modern times in an Essay on the Shaking Palsy published in 1817 by James Parkinson (1755-1824). James Parkinson systematically described the medical history of six individuals who had symptoms of the disease that eventually bore his name. It was not until 1861 and 1862 that Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) with Alfred Vulpian (1826-1887) added more symptoms to James Parkinson's clinical description. The underlying biochemical changes in the brain were identified in the 1950s, due largely to the work of Swedish scientist Arvid Carlsson (born 1923). Lastly, levodopa and carbidopa was developed by DuPont during the 1970s for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Conclusions:

Unlike to so many physicians believe, James Parkinson was not the first who described this disease. It was known about 7000 years ago by Indian physicians, the it was described by Avicenna a thousand years ago, until James Parkinson systematically described the medical history of six individuals who had symptoms of the disease that eventually bore his name.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Kaadan, A.N.; Parkinson's disease in history [abstract]. Movement Disorders 2013;28 Suppl 1 :1174