10 things you didn’t know about Parkinson’s Disease

1.     Parkinson’s Disease is named after British surgeon James Parkinson, who in 1817 wrote An Essay on the Shaking Palsy. Whilst Parkinson was the first to observe and describe the symptoms in a number of patients, it was actually Jean-Martin Charcot, a French neurologist, who would later coin the name ‘Parkinson’s Disease’.

2.     There is not yet a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, but there are very effective – almost miraculous – treatments for the symptoms. Of all the neurological disorders, Parkinson’s is one of the most treatable.

3.     Symptoms are often on only one side of the body, or are asymmetric; this asymmetry persists throughout life.

4.     Communication may be hindered by a softness of voice, decreased articulation, monotone speech, loss of normal inflection, and a decline in facial animation and expression.

5.     Progression of Parkinson’s disease varies from person to person; it may be slow and in some cases may never lead to significant impairment.

6.     There is no single laboratory test a doctor can order to confirm whether a person has Parkinson’s disease. There are, however, four “Cardinal Symptoms”, the combination of any two being enough for diagnosis:

(a) Resting tremor
(b) Bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
(c) Rigidity
(d) Postural Instability

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