Long COVID: What We Have Learned About Chronic Illness from the Front Lines

David Putrino, PhD

BAL Spotlights Series

 

In this episode of Ticktective, Dana Parish interviews David Putrino, PhD, about the new Cohen Center for Recovery From Complex Chronic Illnesses at Mount Sinai which will focus on the treatment and study of Long COVID, chronic Lyme, and ME/CFS. Dr. Putrino begins by stressing the importance of complete assessment and individualized treatment for complex chronic conditions. He emphasizes the need for improved medical student and provider education to better understand and treat these illnesses.

“Death is not the only serious health outcome from COVID. An acute SARS-CoV-2 infection can absolutely rob you of your previous life as effectively as a severe infection that ends in death as anything else.”

– David Putrino

Putrino addresses the early COVID epidemic and the eventual identification of Long COVID. He discusses Long COVID’s viral persistence and inflammation and therapeutic approaches targeting endothelial dysfunction and platelet hyperactivation. The medical profession’s intractable denial and skepticism concerning these chronic diseases and the need for new diagnostic tools and research funding are also addressed.

Processed Food, Nutrition, Modern Medicine and Chronic Disease

Ticktective™ with Dana Parish

David Perlmutter, MD, FACN

David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, is a board-certified neurologist, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, and five-time New York Times bestselling author. He is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of nutritional influences in neurological disorders. He serves as a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and has published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Archives of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and The Journal of Applied Nutrition. In addition, he is a frequent lecturer at symposia sponsored by institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, Columbia University, Scripps Institute, New York University, and Harvard University and serves as an Associate Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Perlmutter’s books have been published in 32 languages and include the #1 New York Times bestseller Grain Brain, The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar, with over 1 million copies in print. Other New York Times bestsellers include Brain Maker, The Grain Brain Cookbook, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, and Brain Wash, co-written with Austin Perlmutter, M.D. He is the editor of The Microbiome and the Brain authored by top experts in the field and published in December 2019 by CRC Press. His latest New York Times bestselling book, Drop Acid, focuses on the pivotal role of uric acid in metabolic diseases and was published in February 2022.

Young Hearts, Hidden Battles: A pediatric infectious disease physician’s perspective on Lyme disease and neuropsychiatric manifestations

Charlotte Mao, MD MPH

Distinguished Speaker Series Transcript

 

“Everything about this disease is infinitely more complex and nuanced than is taught to physicians.”

– Charlotte Mao, MD MPH

Charlotte Mao, MD MPHCharlotte Mao: Thank you Dana for that amazing introduction and Brandi too. I want to thank Brandi for so generously opening up your beautiful home for this event and Bay Area Lyme Foundation for inviting me to speak tonight about my personal perspectives as a pediatric infectious disease physician about Lyme disease in children, particularly neuropsychiatric manifestations. 

When Brandi asked if I might give a talk for this Speaker Series, I suggested this topic because, first, I hope there might be something instructive in some of my personal musings on key lessons I’ve learned about Lyme disease in the course of caring for children with this contested disease. Second, I want to highlight neuropsychiatric manifestations because I feel they generally are the least recognized by physicians as being potential manifestations of Lyme disease. Yet, taking into account all levels of severity, they are, in my view, actually quite common—certainly not uncommon—and when severe, they are among the most devastating of Lyme manifestations to the lives of children and their families.

Twin Cities Lyme Foundation and Bay Area Lyme Foundation Unite Efforts to Further Advance the Fight Against Tick-Borne Diseases

Lisa and Pete Najarian

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Twin Cities Lyme Foundation and Bay Area Lyme Foundation Unite Efforts to Further Advance the Fight Against Tick-Borne Diseases

Twin Cities Lyme Foundation Founder Lisa Najarian and her husband Former CNBC Correspondent Peter Najarian to join the Advisory Board of Bay Area Lyme Foundation

Portola Valley, CA, May 29, 2024 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced it has united efforts with Twin Cities Lyme Foundation (TCLF), a 6-year-old organization focused on raising awareness and aiding in the early detection of Lyme disease throughout Minnesota, to further advance the fight against tick-borne diseases in the Midwest.

“We have long collaborated with Twin Cities Lyme Foundation and are impressed with their work in addition to being grateful for the ongoing partnership, support and efforts of its founders over the past 8 years,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “Our national footprint allows us to identify innovative research throughout the US, particularly on the East and West coasts, and provide valuable information about tick ecology across the country. Uniting our efforts further strengthens our work in the Midwest and creates greater opportunities to advance our mission of making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure.”

Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, Voted TIME100 Most Influential Person in Health, Discusses the Battle Against Infectious Disease

Ticktective™ with Dana Parish

Akiko Iwasaki, PhD

Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, is a Sterling Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in Canada and her postdoctoral training from the National Institutes of Health. Her research focuses on the mechanisms of immune defense against viruses at the mucosal surfaces, and the development of mucosal vaccine strategies. She is the co-Lead Investigator of the Yale COVID-19 Recovery Study, which aims to determine the changes in the immune response of people with long COVID after vaccination. Dr. Iwasaki also leads multiple other studies to interrogate the pathobiology of long COVID, both in patients, and through developing animal models of long COVID. Dr. Iwasaki was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2018, to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019, to the European Molecular Biology Organization in 2021, and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021.

New Discovery Identifies “Don’t Eat Me” Protein that Allows Lyme Bacteria to Evade Body’s Immune Response

New Discovery Identifies “Don’t Eat Me” Protein that Allows Lyme Bacteria to Evade Body’s Immune Response

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

New Discovery Identifies “Don’t Eat Me” Protein that Allows Lyme Bacteria to Evade Body’s Immune Response

Stanford University/MIT/UCSF study funded by Bay Area Lyme Foundation offers new direction for tick-borne disease research, paving the way for potential new discoveries   

Palo Alto, CA, May 7, 2024—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the U.S., today announced a study finding a new mechanism of immune evasion used by Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. This study is the first to identify the specific Borrelia protein that acts as a “don’t eat me” signal to the body’s immune system in people with Lyme disease, offering insight into how the bacteria may persist in Lyme patients and introduces an entirely new research direction toward potential future treatments. The research was conducted at Stanford University and University of California San Francisco and funded in part by Bay Area Lyme Foundation. This groundbreaking data posted on bioRxiv on April 30, 2024, is expected to be published in a peer-review journal in the future.

“One of the big mysteries of Lyme disease has been how Borrelia is able to evade and survive the immune system – and this study helps answer that question. We’ve unlocked a critical door to understanding how this bacteria, and possibly other pathogens, manage to trick the immune system to evade clearance,” said lead author Michal Tal, PhD, principal scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bay Area Lyme Foundation 2018 Emerging Leader Award winner who has received additional funding from the organization for this project.

In this study, researchers found that P66, a known Borrelia surface protein and one of the IgG Western Blot testing “bands” used for diagnosis, can inhibit an important portion of the immune response.

The Myth of the Bullseye: Why Recognizing the Spectrum of Lyme Disease Rashes is Critical for Diagnosis and Treatment

Lyme rashes

BAL Spotlights Series

 

Anna Schotthoefer, PhDAnna Schotthoefer, PhD, a project scientist at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin, discusses the collection and analysis of a specific subset of blood and urine samples for Lyme Disease Biobank—a Bay Area Lyme Foundation program—from patients diagnosed with tick-borne diseases in the state. Marshfield Clinic serves a large population in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which are highly endemic for Lyme disease. Her Bay Area Lyme-funded study of the Marshfield samples focused on visual documentation of rashes associated with Lyme disease and the challenges in accurately diagnosing the disease based on these rashes. The results highlight the difficulties in recognizing early Lyme: only two of 69 patients presented with the classic bullseye rash that doctors learn is the gold standard for diagnosing Lyme from textbooks. Schotthoefer discusses the variety of different rashes that can result from a tick bite, the characterization of the spectrum of rashes, the need for better Lyme diagnostics, and the ongoing efforts to develop new testing methods using the samples collected in LDB. She expresses optimism that in the next five to ten years, there will be significant advancements in Lyme disease detection, diagnosis, and therapeutics—largely thanks to patients who have contributed samples to LDB for ongoing research.

“The textbooks doctors read in medical school tell them, ‘Look for a bullseye rash; look for the target-like lesion,’ and it turns out that’s wrong. There is a need to continue educating clinicians and providers that Lyme rashes are a spectrum.”

– Anna Schotthoefer, PhD

Keeping Frontline Workers Safe: New Program Will Educate Firefighters At Risk for Lyme Disease

Functional Medicine for First Responders

BAL Leading the Way Series

 

Dr Sunjya SchweigSunjya Schweig, MD, founder of the California Center for Functional Medicine, discusses a new program he is developing with funding from Bay Area Lyme to provide education and awareness about Lyme disease and the risks of tick-borne infections for firefighters. Firefighters have a profile of unique occupational exposures, including tick bites, and there is a significant lack of education on this topic. This new program aims to create professional, engaging videos featuring firefighters sharing their experiences and providing information on tick bite prevention, checking for ticks, and what to do if bitten. The goal is to roll out the program in California first, targeting professional firefighter and first responder organizations and eventually expanding nationwide. The exact number of firefighters living with Lyme disease is unknown, but it is acknowledged that they have both occupational and recreational exposures. This new program is seen as a way to bring awareness and education to this population and beyond.

“Lyme is not really on the radar for many firefighters. They may have had tick bites either in the line of duty or out mountain biking or hiking when they’re off duty, but many don’t know that tick-borne disease is a big problem.” 

– Sunjya Schweig, MD

New Study Reveals Potential Treatment for Neurologic Lyme Disease

Geetha Parthasarathy, PhD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 New Study Reveals Potential Treatment for Neurologic Lyme Disease

Blocking certain fibroblast growth factor receptors is shown to be effective in reducing inflammation and cell death caused by neurologic Lyme infection in laboratory studies

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif. April 18, 2024—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, recently announced the publication of a laboratory study showing that fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitors may be appropriate as an anti-inflammatory supplementary treatment for neurologic Lyme disease, for which there are no universally effective treatments. Published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Immunology, this study shows FGFRs are activated in response to both live and non-viable Lyme bacteria in preclinical brain tissue models. Further, inhibition of FGFR1, FGFR2, and FGFR3 may help mitigate the neuroinflammatory and neuropathogenic effects of infection by the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi.  

“Our research shows a potential connection between neurological Lyme disease and several other neurological conditions, and this common pathway may explain why Lyme can be confused with many other conditions. Increasing our knowledge of FGFRs and their effect on the brain will help us understand the common mechanisms that may underlie Lyme disease and other neurological diseases,” said Geetha Parthasarathy, PhD, assistant professor at Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane School of Medicine, and a Bay Area Lyme Foundation 2019 Emerging Leader Award winner. “This data shows that FGFRs can be novel targets of anti-inflammatory therapeutics in Lyme patients with persistent neuroinflammation.”

“Our findings from this and our previous studies also offer important insight that may help to explain why some patients still experience chronic neurological symptoms even after a short course of antibiotics,” added Dr. Parthasarathy.

Ticktective with Dana Parish: Rapamycin, The Dog Aging Project: What Animals Can Teach Us About Aging Better

Ticktective™ with Dana Parish

Dr Matt Kaeberlein

Dr. Matt Kaeberlein is the Chief Executive Officer at Optispan, Inc., Affiliate Professor of Oral Health Sciences at the University of Washington, and Co-Director of the Dog Aging Project. Dr. Kaeberlein’s research interests are focused on understanding the biological mechanisms of aging to facilitate translational interventions that promote healthspan and improve the quality of life for people and companion animals. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Aging Association (AGE), and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Dr. Kaeberlein has published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers in the field of longevity and has received several prestigious awards including young investigator awards from the Ellison Medical Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association, the Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star in Aging Research Award, the Murdock Trust Award, the NIA Nathan W. Shock Award, and the Robert W. Kleemeier Award for outstanding research in the field of gerontology. Dr. Kaeberlein is the founding Director of the University of Washington Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute, former Director of the NIH Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging and the Biological Mechanisms of Healthy Aging Training Program at the University of Washington, and former CEO and Chair of the American Aging Association.