Today is World Parkinson’s Day.

Why today?

Well, it’s the birth date of Dr. James Parkinson, an English surgeon, apothecary, geologist, paleontologist, and political activist.

The guy just couldn’t make UP his mind!

He wrote An Essay on the Shaking Palsy in 1817 and was the first to describe paralysis agitans.

The condition would be named Parkinson’s Disease by Jean-Martin Charcot.

Parkinson was born in London to an apothecary father who was also a surgeon.  He became a surgeon in 1784 and was approved by the City of London.

There were no medical boards back then; you just had to prove you could do the job!

His interest in politics led him to become an advocate for the under=privileged and an outspoken critic of the government of William Pitt.   He was known for his social and revolutionary causes and published over 20 political pamphlets in the period after the French Revolution.  He called for social reform and universal suffrage.  Both were political hot buttons at the time.

He moved back to medicine from the political world around 1799 and began publishing medical works including one on ruptured appendix.  He along with his son was the first to prove a ruptured appendix was a cause of death.

He was a proponent of improving the general health of the population and was a crusader for legal protection of the mentally ill.

The guy was way ahead of his time!

He died in 1824 after suffering a stroke.

His life and work are commemorated with a stone tablet at the church of St. Leonard’s where he was a member.

His gravesite is unknown.

His discovery and work on the disease that would eventually be named for him is celebrated today with a day of awareness.

Parkinson’s affects over 1,000,000 people in the US alone with more than 60,000 new cases diagnosed last year!

One of my favorite bloggers and writers, Vikki Claflin’s book Shake, Rattle, and Roll With It: Living and Laughing with Parkinson’s is her way of dealing with the disease.

It is a great read, and a great way to celebrate the day!

You can check it out here along with her blog… http://laugh-lines.net/

Happy Parkinson’s Day?