Billy Connolly

I’ve been feeling quite positive the last week or so as I have been feeling good, with hardly any symptoms except for sluggish arms and legs in the morning.

I seem to have improved greatly since the weather has cooled down.

But I have just been reading about Billy Connolly and how he doesn’t recognise anyone and his mind had “dulled”, does anyone know the percentage of people this happens to with Parkinson’s.

Hello Margs,

I’ll pass your question about percentages along to the team to take a look at tomorrow, but we do also have some information on mild memory and thinking problems, which you can find here:

I hope this is helpful to you, and best wishes,
Moderation Team.

Thank you Min.

Hi @Margs,

I see one of our moderators has already got in touch with you which is great, but I thought I’d quickly chime in here as well. It’s really sad to hear about Billy Connolly’s rapid health decline and our thoughts go out to him and his family.

To answer your question, as you can imagine there isn’t a straight forward answer because Parkinson’s affects everyone differently, however, a recent paper from the Oxford and Tracking Parkinson’s teams looks at understanding the different types of Parkinson’s. In their study groups, they identified a faster progressing type in around 31% of people, where as 20% had the slowest progressing type.

While there will still be much variability in the rate of progression of symptoms in this group (from slightly faster than average too much faster) this is probably the best answer we can give you at the moment. But it is important to note that this does not mean 31% of people with Parkinson’s will have symptoms like Billy Connolly.

I hope you find this information useful - we are currently working on a blog post about this research and I’ll share it with the forum once it has been published.

Best wishes,

Thank you Reah.

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According to Pamela Stephenson, Billy Connolly is not as reported!


I just read that too! Suspect the truth is somewhere inbetween & Billy varies according to the day.

As we all do Mountainair, we all differ in moods, strength, alertness, pain, etc we all feel it at some time or other be it hourly, daily, weekly, monthly. Whoever you are it comes to us all!


Hi Margs

Since reading nthe original item I have read a piece by his wife saying that it is not true, and that he is still quite sharp and funny.

I think that, for most of us, it is a question of wait and see

Let’s think positivelyand hope that it doesn’t happen to us.




Yes Audrey, that is definately the right attitude. Not always easy though.

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Well said Margs, Avoid the statistics, you are an individual and I’m sure a wonderful one who doing her best x

According to the article below:

“Mild cognitive impairment may occur in about 25% of PD patients… About 40% of PD patients develop dementia.” Cognitive Changes in Parkinson’s Disease J.G.Goldman 2005 AMERICAN PARKINSON DISEASE ASSOCIATION

If you google “Cognitive Impairment Parkinson’s” you’ll find more articles with varying statistics, but basically it seems fairly common.

I also found an article about impaired facial recognition in Parkinson’s.

Something funny happened to me a few years ago at a family reunion. I have loads of cousins, some of whom I had not seen since we were children (about 50 years ago!).

I was looking across the room at one guy and I remember thinking I’ll go and talk to him. Next thing I was asklng him a question and he did a double take but he answered anyway. I’m not sure how long it took me to figure out that I had already met him & asked him the same question.

Maybe a combination of not recognizing a face I’d only seen recently and dodgy short term memory

Also because of reduced movement of facial muscles in Parkinson’s you can look pretty blank sometimes and coupled with that ‘slowness of thought/difficulty initiating speech’ , people could easily get the impression that you couldn’t remember who they were.

Short-lasting episodes of prosopagnosia in Parkinson’s disease. Villa-Bonomo C, Pagonabarraga J, Martínez-Horta S, Fernandez de Bobadilla R, Garcia-Sanchez C, Campolongo A, Kulisevsky J. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2013 Mar;19(3):375-7.

Prosopagnosia, the selective inability to recognize known faces, has been described in Alzheimer’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia but is not expected to occur in Parkinson’s disease (PD).

We report three PD patients who developed recurrent, paroxysmal and short-lasting episodes of prosopagnosia, before progressing to PD dementia (PDD). Hallucinations and other higher-order visual deficits - such as optic ataxia and micro/macropsia - were also seen.

Progressive signs of temporal and parietal dysfunction have been suggested to herald dementia in PD. The observation of prosopagnosia and other higher-order visuoperceptive defects in the transition to dementia, reinforce the importance of posterior-cortical deficit in PD.