Posted by: Footler PJ17 APR 2009
It was in 1817 that a London doctor, James Parkinson, published “An essay on the shaking palsy” and established Parkinson’s disease as a recognised medical condition. The French neurologist Jean Martin Charcot named the disease after him 60 years later.
To raise public awareness of the condition, Parkinson’s Awareness Week will run from 20 to 26 April 2009. The week will also mark the 40th birthday of the Parkinson’s Disease Society.
The Parkinson’s Disease Society is the leading charity in the UK for parkinsonism, providing information and support for patients, their carers and their families. It is also a world leader in research into the condition and has so far invested more than £35m in the search for a cure. The charity aims to use the week to focus attention on these achievements.
Research into Parkinson’s disease has accomplished much during the past 40 years, but the condition has been known for many centuries. The ancient Indian medical system, Ayurveda, referred to Parkinson’s as kampavata. The disease was treated with a tropical legume called atmagupta (Mucuna pruriens), known in English as velvet bean or cow-itch. The seeds of Mucuna pruriens are known to be a natural source of levodopa.
A feature of this year’s Parkinson’s Awareness Week will be the launch on 20 April of the Parkinson’s Brain Bank Appeal. The brain bank, properly called the Parkinson’s Disease Society Tissue Bank, is held at Imperial College London. The bank provides high quality brain tissue to researchers working in the field of Parkinson’s disease and related neurological disorders. The appeal’s target is to double the numbers of registered brain donors in 2009.