‘The first step in finding the avenue for a cure’

In 2018, Veronica Arevalo was experiencing neurological symptoms and didn’t know what could be wrong. Her boyfriend took her to the hospital where she received a neurological exam. There, at age 48, Veronica was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the disease her dad had been diagnosed with just 14 years earlier.

“I was always told it wasn’t hereditary,” Veronica said. “But when I was diagnosed in 2018, I said there had to be more to it, because there’s not a lot of information on the types that are hereditary and the types that aren’t.”

This winter, Veronica came across an ad for a Parkinson’s observational research study at Pharmacology Research Institute (PRI) in Encino, California — a part of Wake Research’s site network. Upon learning that the basis of the study was giving a blood sample to look for the genetic markers associated with Parkinson’s, Veronica signed up.

“When my dad was diagnosed, I did my research, and I found that there really haven’t been that many changes or advancements from when he was diagnosed to now,” she said. “When I saw what the study was for, I said, ‘OK, this is actually something that can provide some results to where Parkinson’s is coming from and why.’”



To date, there is no known exact cause for Parkinson’s disease. Existing research has suggested that genetic factors play a 10-15 percent role in the cause, and that those who have close relatives with Parkinson’s will have a higher chance of developing the disease in their lifetime.

Researchers have found that the genetic cause is due to specific gene mutations linked to Parkinson’s disease that are hereditary. The most frequently known genetic causes are mutations in the LRRK2 (Leucine-rich repeat kinase) gene and in the GBA (glucocerebrosidase) gene.

The study that Veronica participated in at PRI is looking for the LRRK2 genetic marker in individuals with Parkinson’s disease or whose family members have Parkinson’s disease.

“My mom didn’t believe that Parkinson’s was what I had because she believed my dad’s was caused by Agent Orange when he served in the Vietnam War,” Veronica said. “Then my dad felt responsible. So, if my results come back with this gene, I can tell him that it’s this specific marker, it’s a genetic thing, and I can put his mind at ease.”


Veronica hopes that for those who participate in this study, their results may not only give them a peace of mind, but will help contribute to finding out more about Parkinson’s disease — why it develops, a way to treat it, and possibly, finding a cure.

“Once I get my results back, then if I do have that gene, it will give me some kind of knowledge that they’re working on an advancement as to why Parkinson’s develops,” she said.

And she hopes more people affected by this disease will take the step to participate in the study and further contribute to research on Parkinson’s disease.

“People can get a little nervous sometimes about studies, but it’s very easy to do,” she said. “This is the first step in finding the avenue for a cure.”

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and you are interested in participating in our study, visit our Parkinson’s study page to find out more information and sign up.

Old reviews:

I came in last year for the Migraine study. OMG!!!!!  It HAS changed my life. I was a chronic migraine sufferer… my only hope is for a breakthrough medication that can give me my life back.  I suffer from 15+ migraines a month and this new medication brought it down to 2 or 3!  It is such a game changer. 2017

I had been to PRI before and was very pleased with the care given.  I trust my nurse completely with my health/life. 2017

My nurse was absolutely wonderful and I will miss her. 2017

I was looking for answers. 2017

The nurse and the clinic experience was lovely… Also, the convenience and compensation influenced my decision to participate. 2017

Great presentation! I signed up then. 2017

An honor to participate in your program and to work with the nurse. 2017

Compensation, low risk and contributing to medical pharmacology. 2017

Very thorough with testing, always on time with appointments. 2017

Thank you very much!  Let me know if I can participate in any other study. 2017

Important study for an important, needed supplement/medication. 2017

I wanted assistance with binge eating. 2017

My wife’s doctor, my wife’s health and welfare and the love for my wife influenced our decision to participate. 2017

I wanted to “be well again. Be my old but new self. 2017

I am looking forward and have interest in participating in future studies I may be eligible for because my experience here was so great! 2016

I could not have asked for a better outcome. The Staff were great. 2016

The whole crew is very personable, honest, and compassionate. They're wonderful to work with. 2016

The NP was professional courteous and considerate of my scheduling and inquisitor needs. Exemplary client experience. 2016

Everyone at the office was so nice and caring, I would be happy to do another study! I was always in good hands there! 2016

I was listened to and treated great. The Research Nurse is patient, thorough, and awesome! 2016

Thank you providing quality health services in this difficult time. 2016

The professionalism and opportunity to receive a pre-market treatment. I have tried almost all other options. 2015

Can't say enough good things about the experience, especially the Staff who were most helpful and friendly. Would love to participate in another study! 2015

Very Well Managed Study, Positive Outcome, Pleasant Staff. 2014

I feel like they really had my best interest at heart. 2013