Are Symptoms of Parkinsons Degenerative?

Results of my Thanksgiving holiday survey that asked about Parkinsons symptoms  far exceeded my expectations. I asked members of my Parkinsons Recovery audience who currently experience the symptoms of Parkinson’s to report how they were doing relative to one year ago. Here is the question:

Since Thanksgiving of last year (2010) have you been feeling better, the same or worse overall?

Thirty-six persons responded over the course of the two days before Thanksgiving holiday.

If you happen to buy  into the untrue belief that Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease, you would expect that Parkinsons symptoms would get worse over time. That is, people who currently experience the symptoms of Parkinson’s should feel worse and worse with each passing year.  They will not feel better.  Moreover, if you actually endorse the belief that Parkinsons is degenerative, you would expect the following result:

Number feeling Better – 0

Number feeling the same 0

Number feeling worse-   36

Only such a result would confirm the false belief that Parkinsons is “degenerative.”  It would say that 100% of the people who currently experience the symptoms of Parkinson’s are worse off this year than last. Only such a result would support the false belief that Parkinson’s is degenerative which many people still underwrite.

This was not – I repeat not – the result of the Parkinsons Recovery survey. Seventy percent (70%) of the respondents reported that they were doing the same or better than a year ago. A mere thirty percent (30%) reported that they were feeling worse overall.

Thirteen (13) persons reported they felt better overall. Twelve (12) persons reported that they felt the same as last year. In total, 25 out of 36 persons (70%) who responded said they were doing as well or better than last year. Isn’t this result exciting news?

I am going to design a followup Holiday Survey with a longer lead time to respond. My followup survey will ask people who do not currently experience the symptoms of Parkinsons as well as people who do to report how they are doing overall this year as compared to last year. What do you suppose a comparison of people with Parkinsons symptoms to people without Parkinsons symptoms will reveal?

I obviously do not know, but just think about the overall health of people you know in general – especially friends and family. How many people without Parkinson’s are feeling worse overall this year than last? Is it 30%?

I will not be surprised to find that 30% of the general population are feeling worse this year as compared to last year. It is thus very likely that people who just happen to currently experience the symptoms of Parkinsons are fairing no better or worse than the general population.

I will put out just such a survey and report the results over the holidays. I can’t wait to analyze the results.

If you have not already done so, please sign up for the newsletter if you would like to add your input to the Parkinsons Recovery Holiday Survey.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Pioneers of Recovery

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