Tremor in 17th century Latin texts. Descriptions by Tulp, Van Beverwijck and Sylvius

P.J. Koehler and A. Keyser
De Wever Hospital, Heerlen and University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands

In his monograph An essay on the shaking palsy (1817) James Parkinson mentioned tremor and propulsion as the most important signs of the disease he was describing. In the following we will discuss aspects of the history of one of the signs mentioned, i.e. tremor, and see how the meaning of this term has changed since its description by Galen. We will pay attention to some 17th century texts by Tulp, Van Beverwijck, Sylvius. Tulp discusses two patients, one probably suffering from epilepsy and the other from hysterical tremor. Van Beverwijck, who died exactly 350 years ago, describes the pathophysiology, causes and treatment of tremor, not making any distinction between action and rest tremor. James Parkinson was almost certainly influenced by Sylvius' ideas as he quotes Sylvius in his well-known monograph.

Poster Session I
Friday, 20 June 1997, 12.15 - 12.45

Second Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN) and 6th Meeting of the European Club on the History of Neurology (ECHN)

Leiden, The Netherlands