one form that just involves one side of the body (hemichorea), another form that involves muscular rigidity (termed paralytic chorea), etc. Sydenham chorea is also known as acute chorea, chorea minor, juvenile chorea, rheumatic chorea and postrheumatic chorea.
The word “chorea” refers to ceaseless rapid complex body movements that look well coordinated and purposeful but are, in fact, involuntary. Chorea was thought suggestive of a grotesque dance. The term “chorea” is derived from the Greek word “choreia” for dancing (as is choreography).
Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689) first described the condition. Sydenham left Oxford to fight in the English Civil Wars during which he met Thomas Coxe, a physician serving in the army, who inspired him to enter medicine. At the age of 38 he was licensed by the College of Physicians of London to practice medicine full-time and at 52 years of age he belatedly received his M.D. degree from Cambridge. He is considered the “English Hippocrates.”
Sydenham chorea was also called St. Vitus dance.
- Sydenham, Thomas
(1624-1689) Great English physician who has been called the “English Hippocrates” and the “father of English medicine.” Sydenham left Oxford to fight in the English Civil Wars during which he met Thomas Coxe, a physician serving in the army, who inspired him to enter medicine. At the age of 38 he was licensed by the […]
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