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)
(d) Postural Instability