Category: Clinical Blog

How Stress Affects Your Health

Banner with lady sticky notes on her face

Self-preservation is hard-coded into our bodies and reveals itself in various ways. Your stress response is a series of changes triggered by the brain that prepare your body to face a real or perceived threat. While the body was made to handle these short-term boosts, chronic or long-term stress can have lasting effects on your health.

Fight or Flight

Stress affects all body systems, including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems. We need to first look into how the brain switches the body into fight-or-flight mode. This mode powers up the body to quickly eliminate the threat or successfully escape it. It starts with the hypothalamus prompting the adrenal glands to release a surge of adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones. Below is a summary of their functions:

  • Adrenaline boosts energy supplies and increases your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Cortisol curbs non-essential functions, increases sugar levels in the blood, and enhances the brain’s use of glucose. Cortisol also alters the immune system response by increasing the availability of substances necessary to repair tissues.

Someone Left the Stress Response On

Though our ancestors faced many more physical harm or death threats, perceived threats are a more common source today. A threat is any situation where the demands exceed our ability or desire to cope. Because each of us bases a threat on our perception, what stresses one person, may not another. Financial issues, family troubles, and heavy workloads are some stressors many individuals face today. These particular examples are not only prevalent; if they do resolve, it can take a while.

Man with hand on his head from stress

When a stressor is always present, the stress response stays on instead of shutting off once the threat is gone. A chronic increase in the heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels can lead to numerous complications. Damage to the heart, veins, and arteries in the body are examples of complications from chronic stress and why it can be so widespread and devastating. For instance, every cell in the body relies on a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood and other nutrients to function and live.

When the transport system (veins and arteries) and driving force (heart) that transport the supply are damaged, they cannot nourish the cells in the body effectively. The head-to-toe mental and physical effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Increased weight
  • Memory and focus impairment

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) website explains more about the effects of stress on the body’s systems. Learn more about the eye-opening details here.

Advancing Care Options for Chronic Conditions, Stress-Related, or Not!

April is Stress Awareness Month. We encourage you to take this month-long heightened awareness opportunity to learn how to manage and lower your stress levels. The American Heart Association has a lot of great FREE resources on stress management, with many others just an internet search away!

Stress Management resources

Tucson Neuroscience Research is one of 24 clinics integrated with Wake Research spanning 7 different states. We conduct clinical trials to advance treatments and resources for chronic medical conditions and other therapeutic areas. Partnerships with healthy volunteers and those with medical conditions help make these advancements possible by participating in research studies.

Brighten up the future of medicine banner with light bulb

Whether you’re living with a chronic condition resulting from stress or not, participating in research studies may help. To find a list of available studies in your area, you can search by your zip code on our website or contact us at  (520) 225-0382 today!





Advancing Medicine Takes Heart

Advancing Medicine Takes Heart image

Improving Options for Top Women’s Healthcare Issues

Women are unique and diverse both as individuals and as a whole. These are some of the driving forces behind the demand for better care solutions for conditions prevalent in women. The clinical trials we conduct here evaluate potential new options for some of the top health issues women face. Here are three areas featured in our enrolling studies and some information about them:

      • HPV– Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Most sexually active people are infected with HPV at some point in their life. There are over 200 different types of HPV. About 40 of them can infect your genital area — your vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus, penis, scrotum, throat, and mouth. Most genital HPV infections go away on their own, but some high-risk kinds can lead to genital warts or certain types of cancer.
        • There’s no cure for HPV, but individuals living with HPV can help advance its options. To learn more about our enrolling HPV-positive studies, click here.

          Don't let HPV put a pause on your future plans image

    • Abnormal Pap/Colposcopy– Annual pap smears are a proactive measure that screens for cervical cancer and other abnormal changes to the cervix. A colposcopy procedure can provide more information when a pap smear comes back abnormal. The procedure uses a magnifying device called a colposcope. It shines a light and enlarges the view of the cervix to closely examine abnormal cells which aren’t visible by the eyes alone.
      • Birth Control– The options for birth control have grown a lot in recent years. With various methods (implant, IUD, shots, pills, etc.) available, finding a suitable one that fits your lifestyle is easier than ever. More potential new options are being evaluated in clinical trials. By participating in birth control research studies, you play a direct role in advancing contraceptive options. It is also an excellent opportunity to try different birth control methods.
        • To get more information about our birth control studies, click here for enrolling IUD studies and here for birth control pill studies.

      To learn more about participating in research or our enrolling studies, visit our Enrolling Clinical Research Studies webpage or call us at (520) 225-0382 today!



Why You Should Volunteer in a Trial

Want to help out others this new year?

Giving back in a meaningful way as an individual is a great way to help others and strengthen your community. Volunteering also comes with life-changing personal benefits not everyone knows about. Do you want to help others in the New Year? Keep reading to learn why you should consider volunteering in a clinical trial!

Volunteers and Clinical Trials

When most people look for a volunteer opportunity, they often don’t think of doing so through a clinical trial. Clinical trials rely on partnerships with healthy and patient volunteers to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of potential new treatments. When a new treatment is discovered, it must go through the four phases of a clinical trial before it can be made available to the public.

Volunteer image

In the early phases of clinical trials, healthy volunteers help determine the delivery method of the potential new therapy, optimal dosage amounts, and more. In the middle and later phases, patients with the study’s condition will help evaluate how safe and effective the potential new therapy is as it compares to other therapies currently on the market.

Women in Clinical Trials

Despite the many advances and breakthroughs resulting from women’s health research, there is still much work yet to do. One of the most significant disparities in treating women’s health issues is information gathered from primarily male-dominated data. This is mainly because when some of the most common treatments in use today were being evaluated in clinical trials, women were banned from participating.

Diverse women

Even after lifting the ban, numbers still trickled in, and women remain an underrepresented population today. So why is this important? It’s important because women’s bodies work differently than men’s. Not having enough women present in a trial can create treatment outcomes that can lead to overdosing, serious side effects, and more.

Leader in Health Research

Giving back has many potential benefits. Research evidence proves it helps with mental health issues by improving symptoms of depression and anxiety. Other benefits include:

  • Learning more about your condition so you can take better care of your health.
  • Advancing medicine helps improve the lives of future generations.
  • Potentially gaining access to new therapies not currently on the market that may have fewer side effects and be more effective than current options.
  • Being eligible for incentives as a part of study participation such as travel and time reimbursements.
Clinical research is changing the world

Tucson Neuroscience Research is a leader in health research. Through the clinical trials we conduct and the partnerships with people like you, our mission is to advance options for all health conditions. We have several opportunities for you to get involved in. Call us at (520) 225-0382 or stop by our website TODAY!


Free Memory Screenings Available in Recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Sign up for a free memory screening.

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month — Have You Had Your Free Screening Yet?

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is celebrated in November. It is a time to create awareness about Alzheimer’s and other dementias by educating ourselves about the signs. It is also a time to help support the efforts to improve the lives of the more than 6 million individuals living with this condition.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Eventually, individuals are unable to carry out the simplest tasks. As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s may also experience changes in behavior and personality. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are changes in:

  • Thinking
  • Remembering
  • Reasoning
  • Behavior

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. Other diseases and conditions can also cause dementia, but Alzheimer’s is the most common cause in older adults. AD is not a normal part of aging. It’s the result of complex changes in the brain. These changes start years before symptoms appear and lead to the loss of brain cells and their connections.

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is an opportunity for people to honor progress toward understanding and treating the disease while raising money for research and care. It also recognizes caregivers, families, clinicians, and the more than 6 million patients living with Alzheimer’s. Here are some ways you can get involved this month:

  • Participate in a walk
  • Take a picture of yourself and your friends wearing teal and post it on social media using the hashtag #WhyIGoTeal in your post.
  • Create a fundraiser to raise vital funds needed for ongoing research efforts.

The Best Way to Celebrate

Schedule a free memory screening for Alzheimer's disease.

We may be a little biased, but if you’re experiencing memory issues, the best way to celebrate Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is to get checked out. Wake Research Associates has ongoing memory loss studies at our Tucson, AZ, Las Vegas, NV, and Los Angeles, CA locations. We also offer free memory testing for anyone concerned about their memory or at risk for developing Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Click the links below to learn more today!



Our Staff Discusses COVID-19 Crisis on WPTF Podcast

Aubrey Farray is the Phase I clinical manager for Wake Research, the headquarters of the site network Tucson Neuroscience Research belongs to. He recently spoke with hosts Jason Kong (WPTF) and Nicole Clagett (Transitions GuidingLights) of WPTF’s Aging Well podcast on clinical trials in the COVID-19 crisis.  In the interview, he details the process of clinical trials, explaining what participating in a clinical trial entails for those who have questions, and discusses how the elderly population can still participate in ongoing clinical trials, and do so safely.

Farray also tells Aging Well how Wake Research is keeping current clinical trials safe for all participants during the COVID-19 crisis and emphasizes the important role clinical trials have right now in researching and testing drugs to treat COVID-19.

Listen to the full interview here:

Aging Matters Podcast:

Vaccine Awareness: What You Need To Know

Vaccines: Importance and Frequently Asked Questions
Right now, there is a large focus on the urgent need to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that currently has no approved treatment or immunization. This has brought an awareness to vaccine research and development, and just how important it is more than ever.

There is a lot of misinformation that circulates regarding vaccines and what immunization does, so here are a few of the frequently asked questions about vaccines, answered.

Why should we vaccinate?
Vaccines and childhood immunization are vital practices to protecting yourself, your children, and the entire population from contracting dangerous diseases and from preventing outbreaks and pandemics.

As we are experiencing now with COVID-19, pandemics are scary, life-changing and affect much more than just our health and daily lives. Vaccines protect against diseases that have the possibility to become pandemics, and by continuously vaccinating, it is even possible for diseases to become completely eliminated – for example, smallpox.

How do vaccines work?
Vaccines create immunity in the body. When a virus infects the body, the immune system responds to this antigen with antibodies designed to fight it. The first time the body is infected with a specific antigen, the immune system must create those antibodies, which is why you get sick. But if that antigen infects you again, the immune system can recognize it, already has those antibodies, and can fight it off before you get sick.

Vaccines help this process by containing parts of the antigens that are weak enough to not infect you but are still strong enough to elicit an immune response – giving the body protection if ever exposed to this disease again in the future.

Do vaccines cause side effects? Are there risks?
Vaccines can cause minor side effects. These are usually very mild, like a sore arm at the site of the shot or a low-grade fever, and only last a few days. Like any medication or medical treatment, vaccines are clinically tested for safety and continuously monitored to ensure no adverse side effects are experienced. Also like any medication, some individuals may have a more serious reaction and need medical attention. But this is very rare. The protective benefits vaccines provide greatly outweigh the risks of side effects. As always though, discuss the risks and benefits vaccines provide with your doctor.

What diseases do vaccines prevent?
Vaccines protect against many dangerous viruses and diseases that without protection can have serious health consequences like disability or death. These include:

Chickenpox (Varicella), Diphtheria, Flu (Influenza)

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)

HPV (Human Papillomavirus, Measles, Meningococcal (Meningitis)

Mumps, Pneumococcal (Pneumonia), Polio (Poliomyelitis)

Rotavirus, Rubella (German Measles), Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Tetanus (Lockjaw), Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

What is Vaccine Research and Development?
Another important part of immunization is ongoing vaccine research and development. For example, COVID-19 was just introduced to humans this year– meaning no one had built-up immunity for it, nor was there a vaccine to protect against it. Currently, researchers, scientists, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies are working hard to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 so that people all over the world can be protected from this deadly disease.

What would a vaccine mean for COVID-19 specifically?
To date, COVID-19 has affected over one million people in the United States alone. As that number continues to rise across the nation and globe, researchers are hoping to develop a vaccine that would help treat the disease and limit its spread – a vital practice with a disease as contagious as COVID-19.

Vaccines, in general, are effective in limiting the spread of disease by providing immunity. When individuals are immune to a disease, they are unable to be infected by it, which means they will not be able to pass it on to others either.

Interested in taking a 5 question survey on COVID-19 clinical trials and vaccines?
Click Here For Survey
At Wake Research, as a clinical site network, we play a vital role in the vaccine research and development process. At our sites, we conduct vaccine studies where vaccines can be clinically tested for safety and effectiveness for diseases like COVID-19 and more. All current vaccines once had to be put through clinical trials like the ones being conducted now.

Immunizations work and can help to save many lives. For more vaccine information, visit the following sites:

Patient Testimonial: Parkinson’s Disease Clinical Research

‘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, the site network which Tucson Neuroscience Research belongs to. 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.’”

Veronica and her boyfriend near their home in California.


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.

Tucson Neuroscience Research and Western Neuro to attend 27th Annual Southwestern Conference on Medicine

Join us at the 27th Annual Southwestern Conference on Medicine in Tucson, AZ from April 26th-29th 2018. The conference is presented by Tucson Osteopathic Medical Foundation in joint providership with Cleveland Clinic. We will be sharing the space with Western Neuro: Arizona’s Premier Brain & Spine Specialists.

What: 27TH Annual Southwestern Conference on Medicine

Where: The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa

3800 E Sunrise Dr,

Tucson, AZ 85718

When: April 26th-29th, 2018

Why: (From

The Southwestern Conference on Medicine® is an annual event designed to bridge practice gaps between primary care providers’ current knowledge, practice performance, patient outcomes and the ever evolving standards of care in modern medicine. Primary care providers, internal medicine specialists, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and all other physician specialties are minimally exposed to the continual influx of new research data, recent studies and emerging disease states and lack expert mentoring to be able to improve competency, practice performance and patient outcomes. By providing the most current evidence-based findings, studies and technological advances, the Conference will allow the participants to advise their patients to improve care, outcomes and health. The knowledge, competence and performance gaps of this educational activity were developed from data collected from past Conference participants and outcomes measurement tools, the Planning Committee’s perceptions of needed improvements in primary care diagnosis and treatments, national and local statistics and review of current trends in technology and medical literature.