Gratitude of a Celebrity, Business Woman, Author, Wife and Mom

Ally Hilfiger, Lyme advocate and author of her memoir “Bite Me”

Ally Hilfiger, film producer, fashion designer, businesswoman, reality TV star, daughter of fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger, and author of the book “Bite Me” shares her personal experience with tick-borne diseases and her path to healing.

Herbal Medicines Demonstrate Potency Against Bartonella, a Disease-causing Pathogen, According to New Lab Study

Herbal Medicines Demonstrate Potency Against Bartonella

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Herbal Medicines Demonstrate Potency Against Bartonella, a Disease-causing Pathogen, According to New Lab Study

Three of these herbal medicines also have high potency against Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, and Babesia duncani, according to previous lab studies also funded by Bay Area Lyme Foundation

PORTOLA VALLEY, CA, August 5, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the U.S., today announced the publication of new data showing that herbal medicines have potent activity in test tubes compared to pharmaceuticals commonly-prescribed for the treatment of Bartonella henselae, a bacterium believed  to be carried by ticks and the cause of cat scratch fever. This is the first study to find antimicrobial activity of some of these herbal medicines. Published in the journal Infectious Microbes & Diseases, the laboratory study was funded in part by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

“With increasing rates of tick-borne diseases and a consistent concern about the overuse of antibiotics, this early research of herbals is extremely exciting,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “We are hopeful that future pre-clinical and clinical studies will continue to show that herbals have the same effectiveness as this study and other recently-published studies.”

The study is the first to demonstrate that these three herbal medicines had high activity against stationary phase Bartonella henselae:

  • Black walnut (Juglans nigra)
  • Cryptolepis (Cryptolepis sanguinolent) 
  • Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)

The study also confirmed the anti-microbial activity of these two herbal medicines against the same bacteria:

  • Barbat skullcap (Scutellaria barbata)
  • Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)

Three of these—Chinese skullcap, Cryptolepis, and Japanese knotweed—have previously been shown, in similar test tube models, to also be effective against both Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and Babesia duncani, a malaria-like parasite found on the West Coast of the U.S. that causes the disease babesiosis. These three herbal medicines, as well as black walnut, were shown to be more effective than commonly prescribed antibiotics against Borrelia burgdorferi.

“As many people with Lyme disease are co-infected with other pathogens, these findings, which show that certain herbal medications are effective in the lab against multiple tick-borne infections, are an important advance for the tick-borne disease community,” said co-author Sunjya K. Schweig, MD, Founder and Director, California Center for Functional Medicine and Scientific Advisory Board Member, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. Collaborating researchers were from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, California Center for Functional Medicine, FOCUS Health Group, Naturopathic, and Zhejiang University School of Medicine.

“Because so many patients with tick-borne disease do not respond to the standard treatments outlined in medical guidelines, we need research on potential alternatives that can fill this gap and aid in the recovery of patients managing acute and long-term symptoms,” added Dr. Schweig.

Two commonly prescribed antibiotics for tick-borne infections, doxycycline and azithromycin, cleared the persistent form of the bacteria at approximately the same levels as the drug-free control. Comparisons of the pharmaceuticals daptomycin and methylene blue had better activity against stationary phase B. henselae (residual viability of the bacteria reduced to below 40%) than gentamicin, rifampin, and miconazole, which showed relatively better activity (residual viability of the bacteria reduced to below 50%) against stationary phase B. henselae than doxycycline, and azithromycin (residual viability of the bacteria reduced only to 66% and 70% respectively).

These botanical compounds still need to be tested in animal models as well as in clinical trials. While each of these botanical medicines are already in clinical use, it is important for future studies to evaluate them directly in patients using specific clinical treatment regimens, as each have the potential to produce side effects in patients, and should be taken only under the care of a clinician knowledgeable of their capabilities, interactions and toxicities.

About the Study
The paper titled “Botanical Medicines with Activity Against Stationary Phase Bartonella henselae,” was authored by Xiao Ma, Jacob Leone, ND, Sunjya Schweig, MD, and Ying Zhang, MD, PhD.

Plant extracts selected for the study included botanical medicines that have been previously used to manage the symptoms of patients who do not respond to standard pharmaceutical treatments and have favorable safety profiles. For primary screens, all the herbal products were applied at two concentrations, 1% (v/v) and 0.5% (v/v), respectively.

Study authors utilized a similar rapid high-throughput drug screening method, a SYBR Green I/ propidium iodide (PI) viability assay, as previous studies evaluating herbal medicines against stationary phase B. burgdorferi and B. henselae.

These data suggest that it may be advantageous to use these herbal medicines to simultaneously target multiple different pathogens in patients with complex Lyme disease with coinfections. The data also may also provide encouragement for future studies for patients, particularly those whose chronic symptoms may be due to persistent bacteria that are not killed by conventional antibiotic treatment. However, it is critical to note that additional studies are needed to further evaluate the active botanical medicines identified in the study. Patients should not attempt to self-treat with these herbal medicines due to potential side effects and lack of clinical trials with these products.

About Bartonellosis
Bartonellosis is a collection of emerging infectious diseases, including cat scratch disease, trench fever, Carrion’s disease, and bacillary angiomatosis. Bartonellosis is caused by the Bartonella family of bacteria, which can be transmitted via ticks, fleas, lice and sandflies. Symptoms may include fever, lymphadenopathy, malaise, abdominal pain, endocarditis and arthritis, and serious complications can develop in patients for whom the disease progresses, including seizures, cranial nerve palsies, and aseptic meningitis, as well as enlargement of the heart, liver and/or spleen, among other symptoms. There is no single treatment effective for Bartonella-associated diseases, and antibiotic recommendations differ depending on specific presentations.

About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is a leading public charity sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 non-profit organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme Foundation collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The LaureL STEM Fund covers overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit www.bayarealyme.org or call us at 650-530-2439.

# # #

Contact:
Tara DiMilia
Phone: 908-884-7024
Tara.DiMilia@tmstrat.com

How Do You Build a Biobank to Solve the Problem of Lyme Disease? Literally – One Tick Bite at a Time

Lyme Disease Biobank

Written by: Jo Ellis, Bay Area Lyme Volunteer and Supporter

Science is all about asking questions and finding answers. It attracts the curious, the driven, the questioners and fact seekers—the people who won’t accept the status quo and who are always pushing to learn more. If we keep asking science the right questions, we’re bound to get to the right answers eventually. It’s simple, right?

Unfortunately, not. As with everything about Lyme disease the answers to the questions are not so simple. Lyme is a complicated, nuanced disease with many challenging attributes, so much so that even the most experienced clinicians and medical researchers struggle to understand the many ways the infection impacts the human body. So, if you’re going to try and solve the puzzle of Lyme disease, where is the best place to start? How do you get all the pieces in place to move the needle to solve the complexity of this disease?

Enter Bay Area Lyme Foundation and Principal Investigator, Liz Horn PhD, MBI. When they were planning this project, they asked research scientists in the field of Lyme disease what were their big obstacles to finding out more about Lyme? What did scientists need so that they could start chipping away at the conundrum of this horrible disease?

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Partners with American Junior Golf Association to Provide Critical Education About Tick-borne Disease

Golfers are at high risk for Lyme disease

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Partners with American Junior Golf Association to Provide Critical Education About Tick-borne Disease

Golf is Estimated to Be Among the Highest Risk Sports for Contracting Lyme and Other Tick-borne Diseases

Portola Valley, CA, July 15, 2021 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, and the American Junior Golf Association have announced a new partnership aimed at educating young golfers about Lyme disease and providing tips for preventing tick bites. For this partnership, Bay Area Lyme Foundation will provide prevention materials, tick removal keys, Tick Tock Naturals® organic tick repellent and Sawyer® picaridin lotion to all AJGA members. In addition, Bay Area Lyme Foundation will become a Leadership Links charity partner, and two tournaments will be named for the Foundation by the end of 2023.

“As former AJGA and Harvard Division 1 golfers, my brother and I wish we had been educated on the risks associated with Lyme disease and the prevalence of ticks throughout the U.S., and ways to prevent being bitten,” said Nina Fairbairn (AJGA ’13, Harvard ’17), an investment partner who volunteers for Bay Area Lyme Foundation as an Advisory Board member and is spearheading this partnership for the Foundation. “Few golfers seem aware of the risks and even fewer take precautions, and it’s imperative for us to change this.”

Golf courses are a hotbed for ticks that can carry Lyme disease. Ticks flourish in areas between woods and open spaces, which is the exact terrain of golf courses, and live on the small forest animals that often occupy golf courses. Lyme disease is the most common vector borne illness in the United States with at least 476,000 new cases each year.

The Wearable Project: How Can Wearables Be Used in Diagnosing and Studying Lyme Disease?

Dr. Snyder, Stanford professor and author of the book: "Genomics and Personalized Medicine: What Everyone Needs to Know".

Guest host, Wendy Adams, Bay Area Lyme grant director, interviews Dr. Michael Snyder, Stanford W. Ascherman Professor and Chair, Department of Genetics Director, Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine Stanford University. Dr. Snyder is a major participant in the ENCODE project, the public research project that aims to identify functional elements of the human genome. He authored the book: Genomics and Personalized Medicine: What Everyone Needs to Know. He is also a cofounder and a board member of several biotechnology companies.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Selects National Winners of the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards to Advance Research for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Selects National Winners of the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards to Advance Research for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease

Brandon Jutras, PhD of Virginia Tech, Nitya Ramadoss, PhD of Stanford University and Michael P. Rout, PhD of The Rockefeller University are this year’s recipients

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., July 6th, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the U.S., announces the recipients of the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards (ELA), which are designed to support promising scientists who represent the future of Lyme disease research leadership. Michael P. Rout, PhD of The Rockefeller University will receive $250,000 for his work with nanobodies to develop a sensitive point-of-care diagnostic. Brandon Jutras, PhD of Virginia Tech and Nitya Ramadoss, PhD of Stanford University will each receive $100,000 toward the development of a novel direct-detection diagnostic approach for Lyme disease and a novel therapeutic based on B-cell mapping, respectively. Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection diagnosed in nearly half a million Americans each year.

“As there is not a diagnosis or treatment that works for all patients, there is a critical need to develop direct-detection diagnostics as well as treatments that can prevent the development of persistent Lyme disease, and we are excited to support these novel approaches that have shown success in other areas,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

Two of the award winners will utilize biological samples from the Lyme Disease Biobank, a program of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, to collect well-characterized human tissue, blood and urine specimens to accelerate research of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.

Mental Health Support for Persistent Lyme Disease patients and Covid Longhauler patients

Kerry Lang, LMHC, Wellness and Mental Health Program Manager at the Harvard Spaulding Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness and Mental Health Chair for Invisible International and Ride Out Lyme

Kerry Lang, LMHC, Wellness and Mental Health Program Manager at the Harvard Spaulding Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness and Mental Health Chair for Invisible International and Ride Out Lyme, shares how seeking wellness groups and having a positive attitude are so important to supporting the immune system and mental health. She discusses the Covid/Lyme overlap and how these two populations need to work together to inform each other.

The Mysterious History of Tick-borne Diseases and How We Can Stem the Epidemic

Kris Newby, author of "Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons", senior producer of the Lyme disease documentary, "Under Our Skin"

Kris Newby, author of Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons, senior producer of the Lyme disease documentary, Under Our Skin, discusses her Lyme history, her extensive research into tick-borne diseases in the USA and where we find ourselves today in this new pandemic world.

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas, Similar to Woodlands, According to New Study

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Tara DiMilia, 908-947-0500, tara.dimilia@TMstrat.com

 

Ticks Carrying Disease Found to Be Abundant in Beach Areas, Similar to Woodlands, According to New Study

Study Funded by Bay Area Lyme Foundation Also Shows Ticks in Northern California Carry a Diversity of Disease-causing Bacteria at Higher Rates Than Previously Reported

Portola Valley, CA, April 23, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced results of a study demonstrating that adult Western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, were found in beach areas at equal rates to the woodland habitats in parts of northwestern California. Further, researchers, who were testing ticks for up to 5 species of tick-borne bacteria, found that the collective infection rate of all species was as high as 31% in at least one area, which offers a different perspective from previous studies that tested for a single species of bacteria in a specific area or areas. Conducted by researchers at Colorado State University, Northern Arizona State University and Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and published in the June issue of the peer-reviewed journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM), the research points to the need for greater education for both the community at large and healthcare providers about the risks of tick-borne disease.

“The high rate of disease-carrying ticks in the coastal chaparral was really surprising to us. And when looking at all the tick-borne pathogens simultaneously, it makes you rethink the local disease risk,” said Lead Author Daniel Salkeld, PhD, Colorado State University. “Previously, we, along with other researchers, may have missed the big picture when we focused our attention on investigating the risk of one pathogen at a time. Now, we have a new imperative to look at the collective risk of all tick-borne pathogens in an area.”