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[Perspectives] Parkinson’s disease: what’s in the name

It is 200 years since James Parkinson (1755–1824) published his observations on slowly and differentially developing involuntary movements, which he contended constituted “the same species” of disease. In An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, first published in May, 1817, Parkinson argued that specific forms of shaking, weakness, and altered posture and gait, together amounted to a previously uncharacterised “highly afflictive” malady. He called it “the Shaking Palsy” and rendered it in the Essay once only—and pointedly in brackets—as “(Paralysis Agitans)”.

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