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World Parkinson's Day 2014: Why is Parkinson's Day celebrated?

World Parkinson's Day 2014: Why is Parkinson's Day celebrated?

World Parkinson's Day is celebrated annually on April 11, Dr James Parkinson's birthday. The day is dedicated to advocating for people with Parkinson's disease.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : May 22, 2014 11:28 AM IST

parkinson's1April 11 World Parkinson's Day

World Parkinson's Day is celebrated annually on April 11, Dr James Parkinson's birthday. The day is dedicated to advocating for people with Parkinson's disease. World Parkinson's Day increases awareness of Parkinson's and is intended to spur new research and treatment initiatives.

Parkinson's disease was first described by English physician Dr James Parkinson in his work entitled An Essay on the Shaking Palsy (1817). In this short essay Parkinson wrote about '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 senses and intellect being uninjured.' Four decades later, Dr Jean-Martin Charcot added rigidity to Parkinson's clinical description and attached the name Parkinson's disease to the syndrome. (Read: Parkinson's disease may be caused by too much iron in your diet)

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Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of parkinson's.

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Why is the tulip a symbol of Parkinson's?

On April 11, 2005, the Red Tulip was launched as the Worldwide Symbol of Parkinson's disease at the 9th World Parkinson's disease Day Conference in Luxembourg. The story of the Parkinson Tulip began in 1980 in the Netherlands when J.W.S. Van der Wereld, a Dutch horticulturalist who had Parkinson's disease, developed a red and white tulip. In 1981, Van der Wereld named his prized cultivar, the 'Dr James Parkinson' tulip, to honour the man who first described his medical condition and to honour the International Year of the Disabled. (Read: Tomatoes, pepper can stave off Parkinson's disease)

The tulip received the Award of Merit that same year from the Royal Horticultural Society in London England, and also received the Trial Garden Award from the Royal General Bulb Growers of Holland. It is described as a flower: 'exterior, glowing cardinal red, small feathered white edge, outer base whitish; inside, currant-red to turkey-red, broad feathered white edge, anthers pale yellow'. (Read: Vitamin D good for patients with Parkinson's disease)

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder and affects nerve cells which are responsible for motor functions of the body. Parkinson's patients have difficulty in carrying out movements at a normal speed. Hence, they take longer to perform even normal day-to-day activities. Apart from slowness in their body, Parkinson's patients' limbs tend to be either stiff or shake uncontrollably. Other non-motor symptoms like pain, sleep disturbances, irregular bowel movements, fainting spells, depression, anxiety, fatigue and memory problems also occur. There is no cure for the disease but medications and surgery can provide some relief. (Read: Parkinson's Disease what you need to know)

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With inputs from World Parkinson's Congress.

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