Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Health, Medicine, Disease, Community, Parkinson's Disease, Cure, Illness, Doctor

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/10/08

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Parkinson’s disease

The devastating neuromuscular illness known as Parkinson’s disease, incurable and destructive to those who suffer from it, has plagued human health for several centuries. Since very early in the 18th century, this debilitating disease has been widely recognized and carefully studied. While research is ongoing and a cure is still out of reach, Parkinson’s disease continues to be in the forefront of the medical research community in many nations around the globe.
Fortunately, Parkinson’s disease has a traceable etymology; the history of the disease as well as the physicians and researchers who have found the causes and treatments for it will be discussed at length, as will the progression of the medical and lay communities’ understanding of this disease, as will the ongoing research seeking a cure or more progressive treatment options for Parkinson’s disease.


Parkinson’s disease is named for the noted British physician and controversial politician James Parkinson (Ellis, 2013). Born in the middle of the 18th century (1755), Parkinson studied medicine in London, England, with his father, eventually becoming a member of the Company of Surgeons in 1784 (Ellis, 2013). Parkinson, a physician who treated private practice patients as well as the “parish poor” and public patients at the local mental asylum, had time even with all of his medical and clinical duties to write a book entitled An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, which ultimately was the first directed publication to discuss what would later be called Parkinson’s disease (Ellis, 2013). In this book, Parkinson describes paralysis agitans, now commonly known as Parkinson’s disease, as having the characteristics of “involuntary tremulous motion, with lessened muscular powering parts not in action and even when supported; with a propensity to bend, with the trunk forwards and to pass from a walking to a running pace; the senses and intellects being uninjured” (Ellis, 2013, p. 262).
While Parkinson’s publication made few waves during his life span, his ideas about the tremors and gait of those affected with this neuromuscular affliction did resurface about 60 years later. French physician, Jean Charcot, “attach[ed] Parkinson’s name to the condition, adding only one feature not mentioned by Parkinson, namely, the typical rigidity of the muscles” (Ellis, 2013, p. 262). After Charcot’s attribution to Parkinson, research continued with many breakthroughs and setbacks occurring over the next 100 years. Researchers all over the globe contributed to the growing knowledge base of all of the disease processes related to Parkinson’s disease and related afflictions.
As more contemporary research of the illness continues, a cause for Parkinson’s disease is aggressively being sought. In the 20th century, this research for a cure has yielded new discoveries about the disease processes and the disease itself. For example, “the discovery of the a-synuclein (PARK1) and parkin (PARK2) genes has shown without a doubt that genetic mutations can lead to the development of phenotypes of Parkinson’s disease” (Foltynie, Sawcer, Brayne, & Barker, 2002, p. 368). As research continues, the shape, function, etiology, onset, and treatment of the disease will continue to change.
As with any human disease, Parkinson’s disease in not without direct costs to individuals, families, and communities. Wong, Gilmour, & Ramage-Morin (2014) report that “more than half of people with Parkinson’s reported that it negatively affected their social interactions, and almost two-thirds reported out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the condition” (p. 14). Additionally, they report that “spouses were the primary caregiver for the majority of people with Parkinson’s” (p. 14). This reveals the effect of the disease on not just the person with the illness, but those in the family and community as well.


Ellis, H. (2013). James Parkinson: Parkinson's disease. Journal of Perioperative Practice, 23(11), 262-263.
Foltynie, T., Sawcer, S., Brayne, C., & Barker, R. A. (2002). The genetic basis of Parkinson's disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 73(4), 363-70. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/195716531?accountid=167104
Wong, S. L., Gilmour, H., & Ramage-Morin, P. (2014). Parkinson's disease: Prevalence, diagnosis and impact. Health Reports, 25(11), 10-14. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1638888947?accountid=167104

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WePapers. (2020, October, 08) Parkinson’s Disease Essay. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/parkinsons-disease-essay/
"Parkinson’s Disease Essay." WePapers, 08 Oct. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/parkinsons-disease-essay/. Accessed 18 January 2022.
WePapers. 2020. Parkinson’s Disease Essay., viewed January 18 2022, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/parkinsons-disease-essay/>
WePapers. Parkinson’s Disease Essay. [Internet]. October 2020. [Accessed January 18, 2022]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/parkinsons-disease-essay/
"Parkinson’s Disease Essay." WePapers, Oct 08, 2020. Accessed January 18, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/parkinsons-disease-essay/
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"Parkinson’s Disease Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 08-Oct-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/parkinsons-disease-essay/. [Accessed: 18-Jan-2022].
Parkinson’s Disease Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/parkinsons-disease-essay/. Published Oct 08, 2020. Accessed January 18, 2022.

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