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[Perspectives] Parkinson’s disease

Had James Parkinson never written An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, he might now be remembered as an adventurous activist in an age of turmoil. Born in London, in 1755, he belonged to a generation whose political consciousness was shaped by the French and American Revolutions and the writings of firebrand democrats like Thomas Paine. When some of his colleagues in the London Corresponding Society were charged with treason, Parkinson stood up for them in the witness box, and, in 1796, he was suspected of involvement in the Popgun Plot—an alleged conspiracy to assassinate George III with a poisoned dart from an airgun.