BAL Leading the Way Series
How a chance meeting and the harnessing of big data led to a research initiative that’s finding answers in Lyme and tick-borne disease
Many different groups comprise the Lyme disease community including patients, their families, healthcare providers, researchers and nonprofit organizations. These nonprofit organizations and foundations may differ in size, structure, fiscal basis, focus and approach, but in one important aspect they are united: the search for answers.
This search for answers in the realm of Lyme and tick-borne diseases has served as a unifying driver, even when dissent and controversy has sometimes fragmented the Lyme community. And despite what seems to be a constant uphill battle for recognition and legitimacy of Lyme and tick-borne infections, many believe that we’re on the brink of major breakthroughs to help patients and doctors unlock the medical mysteries that make these infectious diseases so confounding. Two people cautiously optimistic about where we are in the search for answers about Lyme are Liz Horn, PhD, MBI, Principal Investigator, Lyme Disease Biobank, and Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, LymeDisease.org and Principal Investigator MyLymeData.
Dale Bredesen, MD
Dale Bredesen, MD is the author of the New York Times‘ bestseller, “The End of Alzheimer’s” as well as “The First Survivors of Alzheimer’s”. He has held faculty positions at UCSF, UCLA, and UCSD. Dr. Bredesen directed the Program on Aging at the Burnham Institute before joining the Buck Institute in 1998 as the founding President and CEO. Dr. Bredesen has published many scientific journal articles and holds over thirty patents. NOTE: there were technical difficulties with the video recording so the video does not switch between interviewer and interviewee. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.
Steven Phillips, MD
Steven Phillips, MD is a Yale-trained physician and co-author of the book, “Chronic: The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Pandemic”. He has treated over 20,000 patients from over 20 countries. Dr. Phillips is well-published in peer-reviewed medical literature such as the Lancet and has been featured in popular media such as the NY Times, the Huffington Post, Dr. Oz, Fox’s Lyme and Reason, CBS, Revolution Health Radio with Chris Kresser, Dr. Been, and The Doctors. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.
Meghan O’ Rourke
Meghan O’ Rourke is the editor of the Yale Review as well as the author of articles in Scientific American, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Slate and many poetry publications. She is the author of several books including her newly released book,The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness. Meghan is the winner of many awards and prizes including the Guggenheim Award for General Nonfiction. Meghan has recently been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, the Ezra Klein Show and Good Morning America. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.
BAL Happenings Series
Promoting tick bite prevention and educating everyone about the serious health impacts of tick-borne diseases has been a consistent objective for Bay Area Lyme Foundation. After all, although the foundation’s mission is to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simply to cure, it would be so much better if nobody ever got bitten by an infected tick in the first place. But as ticks continue to proliferate and the number of people impacted by Lyme and tick-borne diseases grows, the need for tick bite prevention and education escalates accordingly. That’s why the foundation is excited about its three-year partnership with the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), and an upcoming announcement with PGAJR, as they provide an unprecedented opportunity to reach thousands of young athletes and their families.
But why are golf courses high risk locations for tick bites? After all, the fairways are mown regularly, and golfers are typically walking around on grass that is short and frequently tended. Surely hiking, mountain biking and running in areas where trails are overgrown and you’re outside at times when infected ticks are most active would be higher risk?
Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac.
Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., is a renowned expert, leading clinician, and top educator in the fields of functional medicine and ancestral health. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Paleo Cure” as well as the book, “Unconventional Medicine“. Chris is the co-founder and Educational Director of the California Center for Functional Medicine and the founder of the The Kresser Institute. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.
BAL Leading the Way Series
Remember when we used to watch Captain Kirk talk into his chirping communicator and order Scotty to beam him up? And what about that handy medical scanner the size of a pack of cards that Dr. McCoy waved around to assess and diagnose his patients in the starship’s sick bay? We may now all have smartphones to stay in constant touch with each other, but outside of a state-of-the-art hospital with multi-million-dollar scanners and MRI machines, we are still some years away from the Star Fleet’s instantaneous medical technology, right?
Advances in our ability to gather real-time information on the human body are poised to revolutionize not just how we diagnose diseases, but make dramatic, life-altering, positive impacts on the critical timeline for diagnosis and treatment by detecting a disease event before symptoms occur. And Bay Area Lyme is leading the way by investing in research that will further illuminate our understanding of how—in real time—a Lyme infection impacts the human body through the data collected by wearable technologies.
Bay Area Lyme Foundation Funds $8M in Tick-borne Disease Research During the Pandemic
Foundation Embraces National Focus on Infectious Diseases as Education Tool
PORTOLA VALLEY, CA, January 25, 2021—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, today announced that the organization has raised more than $8 million since the beginning of the pandemic of which 100% will be used directly for research and education programs focused on achieving its mission of making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure. In 2022, Bay Area Lyme will mark its 10th anniversary, and throughout this year will be reflecting on a decade of achievements by the foundation and the Lyme community while acknowledging the significant challenges that still lie ahead.
“Although the pandemic presented us with many extraordinary hurdles, it also helped people understand the complicated aspects of infectious diseases—including the importance of accurate diagnostics, the role of antibodies, and the power of effective treatments—all of which are—and continue to be—huge factors in our fight against Lyme and tick-borne diseases,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “The similarities between Lyme and COVID-19 clearly show the critical nature of scientific pursuit, progress and education. The foundation demonstrates consistent, measurable progress unlocking the mysteries of tick-borne diseases, which remain one of the most important health crises of our time.”
Dan Wolff, aka "Tick Man Dan"
Dan Wolff “Tick Man Dan”, the founder and president of TickEase tweezers, the only patented, CDC-compliant, two-sided tweezer created expressly for removal of embedded ticks from people and pets.. He discusses his invention, what to do when you find a tick, ecology of ticks, and how Tony Fauci ended up at his bar mitzvah. Ticktective Video and Podcast Editor: Kiva Schweig.
Written by: Wendy Adams, Research Grant Director & Advisory Board Member, Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ll have learned that tick-borne diseases are on the rise across the United States. Many theories exist as to why this is the case. However, most scientists that study ticks and their habitats agree that a combination of reasons—including climate change and human encroachment into tick habitats—are at least partially to blame.
Although Lyme disease (caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi) is the most common disease that humans acquire from tick bites, ticks can unfortunately transmit several other bacteria, viruses, and parasites to humans. Multiple infections can even be transmitted during the same bite. The confusing and overlapping disease symptoms caused by multiple infections makes it extremely difficult for doctors to recognize, diagnose and treat the different infections.