Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disorder, affecting up to 10 million people worldwide according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. The diagnosis of PD is based on the presence of clinical symptoms that have been refined over centuries and characterized across various cultures. A recent review looks at the understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s disease worldwide.
By Lee Xenakis Blonder
The disease that Western Medicine calls Parkinson’s Disease (PD) was recognised and treated using traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda millennia ago. Furthermore, descriptions of Parkinson’s symptomatology by Europeans date back 2000 years to the ancient Greek physician Galen.
However, the Western classification Parkinson’s disease and the description of symptoms that define it are accredited to British physician James Parkinson, who in 1817 authored The Shaking Palsy. Later in the nineteenth century, French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot re-labelled paralysis agitans “Parkinson’s disease” and over a century of scientific research ensued.
In a recent review article published in the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, the author discusses European, North American, and Asian contributions to the understanding and treatment of PD from ancient times through the twentieth century.
10 million sufferers worldwide
A common neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s Disease affects up to 10 million people worldwide according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. The diagnosis of the disease is based on the presence of clinical symptoms that have been refined over centuries and characterized across various cultures.
At present, the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society clinical diagnostic criteria focus on motor abnormalities that include slowness or poor movement plus tremors or muscular rigidity. In her article, the author takes a detailed look into the historical development of the Parkinson’s diagnosis, and the Western and Eastern perspectives that have contributed to the understanding of PD.
Furthermore, the research also focuses on treatment of PD across cultures and millennia and presents historic breakthroughs in the neurosciences that have improved and extended quality of life in PD patients.
In conclusion to her research, the author found that cultural traditions beyond those of ancient Greece, Western Europe, and the United States, have played a significant role in understanding and treating Parkinson’s Disease. The review makes clear that merging Eastern and Western traditions, rather than separating them will produce the best results.
Read the original article for free here