Is Parkinsons Disease Degenerative?

Many people hold the belief that Parkinsons disease is degenerative. With this expectation, a person is destined to be worse off year after year. Is Parkinsons disease degenerative? That is clearly what most people diagnosed with Parkinson’s believe.

Every holiday season, Parkinsons Recovery sponsors a survey to determine whether or not persons diagnosed with Parkinsons do in fact continue to deteriorate year after year. The 2022 survey asked respondents to answer the question:

“Since the holiday season one year ago, have you been generally feeling better, the same or worse?”

If it is in fact true that Parkinsons disease is “degenerative,” 100% of individuals responding to the 2022 Parkinsons Recovery survey will report they were worse off. No one would report they were better. No one would report they were the same.

In stark contrast to the expectation that Parkinsons disease is “degenerative”,  seventy two percent (72%)  of persons who answered this question reported they were either feeling better or the same.  Of the 72% of respondents who reported they were either feeling the same or better, thirty-two percent (32%) reported that they were better.

Previous Parkinsons Recovery surveys found 65% of respondents has been feeling either better or the same.  When we cumulate results from previous years, we find the following:

Cumulative Results: All Survey Years

1027 100%
BETTER 247 24%
WORSE 358 35%

Results for the most recent survey show a modest increase in the number of persons reporting they were doing better when considering results for all years (i.e.: 32% versus 24%).

You might well believe that when a person reports they are the “same” it always means they continued to struggle with the same troublesome symptoms over the previous year and thus did not report feeling better or worse. This is certainly the experience for some respondents.

Other respondents who reported they were “doing the same” over the previous year were actually doing quite well overall (not poorly).  When a respondent reports “about the same” it does not mean necessarily that their symptoms are problematic.

We also know that none of us are accurate trackers of our personal health. When ask about our health it is not uncommon for any of us to report we have been about the same over the previous year when in reality our health improved. For this reason our results are conservative estimates.


While a majority of persons diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease hold he belief that their condition is degenerative, these survey results clearly indicate this false belief is misguided. Yes – some people do “deteriorate”. Our results estimate approximately one-third of persons we surveyed fall into this category. The vast majority of the individuals who responded to the Parkinsons Recovery annual survey report they were either doing better or the same.

Is it really possible to recovery from a diagnosis of Parkinson’s? Results of the Parkinsons Recovery show the answer is yes.

Robert Rodgers PhD
Founder 2004
Parkinsons Recovery
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease

One thought on “Is Parkinsons Disease Degenerative?

  1. Dr Janice Hadlock states, “Parkinson’s is not and never has been an incurable disease.” She herself has fully recovered as had some of her patients

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