Charcot on Parkinson's disease

Authors

  • Dr. Christopher G. Goetz

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush–Presbyterian–St. Lukes Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
    • Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush–Presbyterian–St. Lukes Medical Center, 1725 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612, U.S.A.
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Abstract

Charcot saluted Parkinson for his early observations, but condemned his use of the term “paralysis agitans.” He emphasized that patients were neither dramatically weak nor were they necessarily plagued with tremor. Charcot suggested the name “Parkinson's disease,” although he could not resist the comment in his amphitheater lecture series at the Salpětrièe that French physicians (unnamed) had probably described the disorder before 1817. Tremor, rigidity, postural instability, and bradykinesia were all recognized by Charcot. He classified the disorder as a “névrose,” meaning a neurologic disorder without a known pathologic lesion, and found little benefit from therapies available at the time, including belladonna and ergot products.

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