Parkinson Society Canada

Parkinson Society Canada

April 11, 2011 07:00 ET

April 11 is World Parkinson's Day

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 11, 2011) - World Parkinson's Day is observed every year on April 11, marking the birthday of Dr. James Parkinson, the English physician who first described the symptoms of the disease in his work titled, An Essay on the Shaking Palsy (1817).

This early description of Parkinson's symptoms made reference to: "involuntary tremulous motion, with lessened muscular power, in parts not in action and even when supported; with a propensity to bend the trunk forwards, and to pass from a walking to a running pace: the sense and intellect being uninjured."

French neurologist Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot added rigidity to the list of physical symptoms and attached the name Parkinson's disease to the syndrome, four decades later.

Today, researchers in Canada and around the world are continuing to broaden the understanding of Parkinson's as a progressive brain disease that has mood and cognitive symptoms, such as depression, attention difficulties and problems with verbal and non-verbal communication, in addition to the better-known motor symptoms. "Scientists are discovering that Parkinson's disease is even more complex than previously thought," says Joyce Gordon, President & CEO, Parkinson Society Canada. "The more we can invest in Parkinson's research, the greater the likelihood of developing better treatments for the disease and, ultimately, the greater hope for a cure."

Parkinson's disease also has tremendous social and economic impact on those diagnosed, as well as their family members and care partners.

Since 1981, Parkinson Society Canada has funded approximately $18 million in research grants. In 2010, Parkinson Society Canada invested over $1.3 million and supported 30 projects through its National Research Program.

Parkinson's is a progressive brain disease for which there is no cure. Over 100,000 Canadians and over 6 million people world-wide have Parkinson's. Since 1965, Parkinson Society Canada, with 10 regional partners and 240 chapters and support groups, has been dedicated to providing support, education, research and advocacy on behalf of Canadians with Parkinson's.

For more information about Parkinson's disease and the work of Parkinson Society Canada, including funded research projects, visit www.parkinson.ca.

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