A film on balance and posture in patients with post-encephalitic Parkinsonism made by Dr James Purdon Martin in the 1960s

Record information

Title: A film on balance and posture in patients with post-encephalitic Parkinsonism made by Dr James Purdon Martin in the 1960s

Reference: QSA/19619

Date: Approx 1 Jan 1960 to 31 Dec 1969

Description: This 14 minute B&W silent film features research of Dr Purdon Martin at the Highlands Hospital, Winchmore Hill, London, on balance and posture in patients with post-encephalitic Parkinson’s Disease, and was presented after his death at the Physiological Society in 1987. The residual mental disturbances were so profound in many of the child survivors that, in 1925, the Metropolitan Asylums Board established a unit at the Northern Hospital, Winchmore Hill (later to become known as Highlands Hospital) to take 100 of the most severe cases for residential care. Kinnier Wilson was appointed to the staff of this hospital, but is said to have visited only occasionally. He did, however, publish extensively on post-encephalitic parkinsonism and his description of the pandemic in his textbook Neurology remains a valuable source of information. Physicians were now forced to acknowledge that an infectious disease could lead to an irreversible clinical syndrome closely resembling the shaking palsy. Dr James Purdon Martin (1893-1984) was born on a farm in County Antrim and died at his home in Queen Square, London . After a house appointment in Liverpool he moved to the National Hospital and three years later in 1925 was appointed to the Consultant Staff and in 1945 he became the first Dean of the newly constituted Institute of Neurology. In his book the Basal Ganglia and Posture published in 1967 after his retirement from the staff at the National Hospital, Purdon Martin described important original research investigations on balance disturbances in post-encephalitic Parkinson’s disease and Wilson’s disease. This along with his earlier report of hemiballismus due to a partial lesion of the contralateral subthalamic nucleus came to be considered his most important contributions to our understanding of neurology.

Creator: Dr Purdon Martin, with acknowledgements to Dr. Sharkey (Highlands Hospital), & Mr. Prickett (Department of Medical Illustration, Institute of Neurology). This annotated version was made for the Physiology Society (with permission)

Storage Reference: Online only

Acquisition: A gift to the archives from Professor Andrew Lees


There is some distortion of timing since the film was shot at 16 frames/s and the transfer to video is at 25 frames/s.


• Martin, J.P. The Basal Ganglia and posture, Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1967 • Martin, J. Purdon and Roberts TDM . Tilting Reactions in Man involvement of the Basal Ganglia in labyrinth reactions J.Physiol. Vol. 392, November 1 1987, pp. Pages 13

• Martin, J.P & HURWITZ, L.J. Locomotion and the Basal Ganglia, Brain, Volume 85, Issue 2, June 1962, Pages 261–276, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/85.2.261

• Martin JP. Tilting reactions and disorders of the basal ganglia. Brain, Volume 88, Issue 5, December 1965, Pages 855–874, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/88.5.855

Keywords: Individuals, People, Purdon Martin James, Sources, Video and Film

Compilations: Film footage

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