Who Was Parkinson's Disease Named After?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

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This may seem like a dumb question, but I've heard a lot about Parkinson disease. Who was Parkinson?

Doctor's response

Parkinson disease is named for the English doctor James Parkinson. In 1817 he described a chronic, slowly progressive disease of the nervous system characterized by a combination of tremor, rigidity, and stooped posture. Today it is known that this condition, Parkinson's disease, is characterized pathologically by loss of a substance dopamine in a part of the brain named the substantia nigra.

James Parkinson was born in 1755 and died in 1824. He was a surgeon (and also was a paleontologist). Aside from describing Parkinson's disease, Dr. Parkinson in 1812 wrote the first article ever published on appendicitis and was the first person to recognize perforation of the appendix as a cause of death.


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