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

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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.

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

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

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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.

First Female US Air Force Thunderbird Pilot and Her Fiercest Battle Yet

Col. Nicole Malachowski, Former Deputy Director for US Air Force Readiness and Training for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, and Bay Area Lyme Foundation Ambassador

Col. Nicole Malachowski, first female Thunderbird pilot, National Women’s Hall of Famer, and Former Deputy Director for US Air Force Readiness and Training for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and Bay Area Lyme Foundation Ambassador shares her challenging journey from military fighter to Lyme warrior.

Gain Strength and Inspiration through the SDLA Empowerment Circle 

Written by: Christina P. Kantzavelos

Driven by a desire to create a centralized resource and supportive community for those impacted by Lyme and tick-borne disease, the San Diego Lyme Alliance (SDLA) was formed as an affiliate of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation in 2019. The challenges of navigating Lyme disease are vast and need not be faced alone. So following in the footsteps of past and existing local Lyme support groups, SDLA established three regional “Circle of Support” group meetings in Carlsbad, Scripps Ranch and La Jolla. Creating this safe space for open dialogue enabled Lyme patients, family and caregivers to build meaningful connections, feel supported and stay informed.

In March 2020, life changed abruptly. COVID-19 demonstrated the importance of human communication and connectedness, with a rise in feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety. While the pandemic presented the challenges of isolation, it also provided the opportunity to explore new ways of interacting and building meaningful connections. Quick to adapt to the online virtual world via Zoom, the “Empowerment Circle” (EC) was born in June 2020. Initially facilitated by Mark Guay, Christina P. Kantzavelos and Patricia Cosulich have joined as co-facilitators to round out the EC Team. Over time our group has brought together participants from San Diego and beyond, including San Francisco, the east coast, and even Canada. The pandemic presented an unexpected opportunity to bring people together more effectively, transcending time, geographical separation and physical limitations.

Proof of Persistent Lyme

Monica Embers, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Tulane University School of Medicine and Bay Area Lyme Scientific Advisory Board member

Monica Embers, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center and Bay Area Lyme Scientific Advisory Board member discusses xenodiagnosis, Borrelia persistence, and her ongoing research in non-human primates.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Call for Entries for the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards

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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Announces Call for Entries for the 2021 Emerging Leader Awards

Grant aims to inspire new research toward overcoming the challenges of Lyme disease

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., November 17, 2020—Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, is announcing a call for entries for their 2021 Emerging Leader Awards (ELA), which are designed to encourage scientists who embody the future of Lyme disease research leadership in the US. This year, two grants, $250,000, and $100,000 will be awarded. Recipients will be researchers from academia or the private sector in the US. who have not necessarily conducted previous research in tick-borne diseases. All applicants are encouraged to bring learnings from other therapeutic areas to their research projects. Their proposal must have a defined scientific approach and rationale that can advance diagnostics or treatments for Lyme disease. Applications will be accepted through February 15, 2021, at midnight pacific. The full criteria and application for this award can be found here.

“This year has given us all the opportunity to consider the great importance of medical research and the devastation that can arise when a pathogen is not well-understood by the medical and scientific community,” said Wendy Adams, research grant director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. “We clearly need novel approaches to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, and we hope these awards offer the support that innovative researchers require.”

The Connection Between Mold Illness and Lyme Disease

Many experts agree that if you are a patient being treated for chronic Lyme disease, but are not getting better, underlying mold toxicity could be at fault. Mold illnesses and Lyme Disease share many symptoms and if all treatments have been exhausted for Lyme with no result, mold could be the hidden offender. According to the book New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment“mold toxicity causes patients to develop symptoms from Lyme infections and vice versa, and people with weakened immune systems are far more susceptible to sickness from mold…and doctors are just beginning to understand and explore it, and like Lyme disease, many conventional physicians are not even aware of it.”

Many people know that black mold poses a huge threat, but are unfamiliar with other types of mold causing health issues. Mold illness causes extreme inflammation, called chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) and when coupled with Lyme disease, symptoms such as fever, headache, and fatigue are exacerbated. Often, mold-related allergies are misdiagnosed or worse, many doctors assume the problems are psychosomatic. Because of this, many people are not aware they are suffering from CIRS plus Lyme disease simultaneously.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Launches Ticktective™ Podcast

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

Bay Area Lyme Foundation Launches Ticktective™ Podcast

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif., September 30, 2020 — Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, announces the launch of the Ticktective podcast and video series.  Ticktective is a Bay Area Lyme Foundation program designed to investigate the latest scientific knowledge and advances in Lyme and tick-borne diseases. The podcast offers insightful discussion with researchers, physicians, patients, and thought leaders in the field.

“Because the science surrounding tick-borne disease is so complex and there are so many unanswered questions, Ticktective aims to share firsthand perspectives about the challenges of Lyme in ways that will intrigue more scientists, physicians and patients to join our battle towards making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

There are more than 400,000 people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the US, and millions of Americans live with persistent Lyme disease (PLD) caused by an ongoing bacterial infection. The current “gold standard” diagnostic for Lyme disease misses up to 60% of cases of early stage Lyme disease, and if not treated promptly, Lyme may progress to a debilitating stage, becoming difficult, or impossible, to cure. Bay Area Lyme Foundation has funded over 100 research projects at 37 institutions across the US in a mission to find solutions for these patients.