James Parkinson: the man behind the shaking palsy
famous work, ‘An Essay on the Shaking Palsy ..
We know very few details of his early life. His parents, John and Mary, had three children – James (the eldest), William and Mary. John Parkinson worked as a doctor in and around Hoxton, being a member of the company of surgeons, and this obviously influenced the young James Parkinson.
An Essay on the Shaking Palsy James Parkinson, Member ..
In the days before such a job description existed, James Parkinson operated as a general practitioner in Hoxton for several decades, later in partnership with his son (also called James), who took over the running of the practise from his father when he retired. In addition to attending to the general health and wellbeing of the people of Hoxton, Parkinson was also heavily involved in the welfare of patients in the district’s numerous mental health institutions.
“An essay on the shaking palsy” 200 years old | SpringerLink
Much is made in the essay of the inadequacy of the treatments available to sufferers. The optimism of Parkinson’s humanist tendencies prompted him to suggest that: “there appears to be sufficient reason for hoping that some remedial process may ere long be discovered, by which, at least, the progress of the disease may be stopped”. Sadly it was to be 140 years before the work of Arvid Carlsson and others eventually led to the development of levodopa as a symptomatic treatment for the Shaking Palsy, and we still await an intervention that actually retards the progress of the disease.
“An essay on the shaking palsy ..
James Parkinson died on 21 of December 1824 on Kingsland Road, only a few hundred yards from the house where he grew up. His passing was much lamented by the Parish of St. Leonard’s, and was noted with regret in the Parish records, as well as in the Gentleman’s Magazine.