Tick Boot Camp

Episode 373: Decoding Lyme - an interview with Doctor Shannon White


In today's episode, we host Dr. Shannon White, a seasoned professional in the healthcare community who's become a leading voice in Lyme disease treatment. Joining her are Rich Johannesen and special guest co-host Tiara Smith, who together will navigate the intricacies of Lyme disease, its co-infections, and the often complex treatment process.

The Journey of Dr. Shannon White

Dr. White shares her personal and professional journey. Raised in Iowa, she was always a nature enthusiast, which ironically exposed her to ticks and the risk of Lyme disease. Dr. White was fascinated by health and biology from a young age, leading her to choose a career as a chiropractor. However, her quest for knowledge led her to explore further – delving into acupuncture and herbalism.

Understanding Lyme

Dr. White's passion for learning and dedication to her patients led her to investigate deeper into recurring patterns in their health issues. This journey led her to explore the realm of Lyme disease. The conversation steers into discussing the complications of Lyme disease and its co-infections, where she highlights the importance of tailored treatment plans.

Discovering a New Approach

Dr. White touches upon a novel approach to diagnosis using a meridian-based machine called The Reflex. This innovative device detects the stress level in the body by analyzing the reactions to vials containing imprints of different viruses and bacteria DNA.

Treating Lyme and Co-Infections

Dr. White discusses her approach to treating Lyme disease, co-infections, and the challenging process of determining which condition to address first. With the help of DesBio, a series of homeopathic remedies, and customized treatment plans, she has been able to help many of her patients recover.

The Nutrition Factor

The podcast covers the importance of nutrition in Lyme treatment. Dr. White recommends reducing the intake of dairy, corn, soy, gluten, and sugar to aid in recovery. She also emphasizes the importance of addressing any existing digestive issues.

Lyme in Children

Dr. White shares her experience treating children with Lyme disease and PANDAS/PANS, describing her joy in seeing them recover. She stresses the importance of listening to patients to fully understand their condition and develop the best treatment plan.

Mold as a Co-factor

Our conversation takes an unexpected turn when Dr. White discusses the impact of mold on Lyme disease. She shares patient stories where unexplained symptoms and stubborn Lyme cases were finally resolved after addressing hidden mold issues in the patients' environments.

Parting Thoughts

The podcast concludes with Dr. White sharing what she wishes more people knew about Lyme disease, emphasizing that it's not just deer ticks that can cause the condition. She encourages listeners to be vigilant and informed about this complex disease.

Closing Remarks

Our co-hosts thank Dr. White for her valuable insights and the knowledge she shared about Lyme disease, promising to continue the conversation in future episodes.

Tune in to this episode to learn more about Dr. Shannon White's journey, her approach to treating Lyme disease, and how she is making a difference in the healthcare community.

Episode 372: Lyme in Brazil - an interview with Isabella Trubbianelli

Welcome to our Tick Boot Camp Podcast podcast where we delve into the personal stories of those bravely fighting chronic Lyme disease. Today's special guest is Isabella Trubbianelli, a young Brazilian physical therapist and businesswoman who faced Lyme disease head-on.

Starting the Journey

The Unexpected Beginning

  • Our conversation kicks off with Isabella's first experience noticing the strange symptoms that marked the start of her Lyme disease journey.

The Professional Struggles

  • Isabella reveals how she tried to balance her condition with a very active profession, running her own Pilates studio and physical therapy office.

Dealing with Symptoms and the Diagnosis

The Mysterious Onset

  • Isabella walks us through the moment when she started to experience debilitating symptoms, which she initially mistook for a severe migraine.

The First Revelation

  • The diagnosis took a turn when Isabella connected her symptoms to a tick bite she had almost six months prior, leading her to suspect Lyme disease.

Understanding Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Research

  • Isabella talks about the research she conducted once she suspected Lyme Disease. She shares the challenges she faced and the support she received during this process.

The Treatment and Recovery

The Journey of Healing

  • Isabella chronicles her medical journey, from receiving an initial prescription for 30 days of Doxycycline in late 2020 to her eventual remission in May 2022.

The Impact on Personal and Professional Life

  • Discussing her life during treatment, Isabella reveals the toll it took on her both personally and professionally, leading her to question her future in the profession she loves.

Life Post-Lyme Disease

Reinventing Practice

  • After overcoming Lyme disease, Isabella discusses her return to work and how she had to reinvent her professional practice to accommodate her new reality.

Importance of Resilience

  • She talks about how she rebuilt her life post-recovery, focusing on the importance of resilience and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Wellness and Balance

A Balanced Life

  • Isabella emphasizes the importance of maintaining balance in life, incorporating exercise, mental health, social life, and work to ensure wellness.

Appreciating Life

  • Isabella reflects on the lessons she has learned, highlighting the importance of appreciating the small things in life and being grateful for every day.

Making a Difference

Raising Awareness

  • Finally, Isabella talks about her desire to raise awareness of Lyme disease and how she has used her platform on Instagram to create a supportive community for those affected by this disease.

Closing Thoughts

  • As we wrap up the podcast, we reflect on Isabella’s inspiring journey from diagnosis to recovery and her mission to spread awareness about Lyme disease, making her story a beacon of hope for many.

Thank you for tuning in to our podcast. Be sure to join us next time for another inspiring journey.

Episode 371: Primal Trust - an interview with Cathleen King

In this episode, we had a stimulating conversation with Dr. Cathleen King, founder of Primal Trust: Brain Retraining a Nervous System Healing. Cathleen is an expert in physical therapy, nervous system retraining, and a survivor of chronic Lyme disease. Here's a rundown of the episode:

Unique Approach to Physical Therapy: Cathleen shares her unique approach to physical therapy that has helped her and her clients modulate pain associated with chronic Lyme disease.

Childhood Trauma: Cathleen courageously delves into her challenging childhood marked by poverty, illiteracy, homelessness, and addiction in her surroundings, and how that influenced her brain development and survival instincts.

Lyme in Achievers and Empaths: Cathleen talks about the prevalence of chronic Lyme disease among high-achievers and highly empathic individuals, and how their nervous systems often get primed to constantly look out for threats.

Fight or Flight Impact on Immune System: Explaining the detrimental effects of prolonged stress on the immune system, Cathleen illustrates how it leads to increased vulnerability to infections, which becomes a significant problem in chronic Lyme disease.

Multiple Health Challenges: Dr. King shares her personal battle with various health issues, including tick bites, Lyme disease, Bartonella, Babesia, mold exposure, and parasitic infections, amidst ongoing emotional stress, which led to chronic Lyme disease.

Limbic System: She discusses the role of the brain's limbic system in chronic illness and how it influences our perception of the internal and external environment, potentially leading to severe symptoms like insomnia.

Biohacks for Chronic Lyme Disease: Cathleen discusses the power of biohacks in managing chronic Lyme, asserting that individuals can exert control over both their pain and their responses to life, even in the presence of persistent pain and an active infection.

Importance of Brain Retraining: Emphasizing the importance of brain retraining for Lyme disease patients, Cathleen shares how she encourages her patients to focus on the present and rewire their brain to perceive safety, despite ongoing symptoms.

Tools Used to Heal: Cathleen shares her experience with various therapies, including binders, saunas, whole-body vibration plates, herbs, detox, and grounding, emphasizing the efficacy of nervous system work in her recovery process.

Brain Retraining Program Approach: Cathleen shares her approach to implementing brain retraining programs, suggesting a less dogmatic and more embodied method.

Nervous System Regulation for Lyme: Revealing some incredible outcomes of her "Regulate" program in the Lyme community, Cathleen provides evidence of significant improvements in symptoms after two to four months of engagement.

Cell Danger Response: Dr. King emphasizes the need for the right support, such as a doctor who understands the cell danger response and someone who encourages nervous system work, in the treatment of Lyme disease.

Episode 370: Individualized Care - an interview with Ashley Beckman

Intro: In this episode, we welcome Dr. Ashley Beckman, a health and wellness authority with a unique focus on individualized care. She discusses her background, her family's entrepreneurial spirit, and how it played a significant role in shaping her perspective on health and wellness.

Entrepreneurial Background: Dr. Beckman speaks about her family's background in entrepreneurship and how it influenced her perspective on health care. She delves into the need for a for-profit model in health care and the potential for it to deliver the highest level of service.

Individualized Care: Discussing the complexity of Lyme disease and the high costs associated with individualized care, Dr. Beckman offers an interesting take on why Lyme disease treatments can be so expensive. She also sheds light on why traditional protocols may not always yield the desired results and can sometimes be damaging to the body.

Personal Encounter with Lyme: Dr. Beckman shares her personal encounter with Lyme disease and how she had to apply her expertise to her situation. Her personal journey is a testament to her dedication to finding effective solutions for complex health challenges.

Definition of Lyme Disease: In the realm of Lyme disease, the number of definitions can often be as varied as the number of practitioners treating it. Dr. Beckman discusses her understanding and definition of Lyme disease, stressing the need for comprehensive testing, including for other pathogens such as Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV).

Emphasis on Mold Toxicity: One of the key elements in Dr. Beckman's practice is focusing on mold toxicity. She argues that sometimes the most significant health concern isn't Lyme disease, but other underlying conditions like mold toxicity, which must be addressed first.

Detox Protocols: Detoxification is a central part of Dr. Beckman's practice. She discusses the importance of tailoring detox protocols to each patient, taking into account their unique needs and bodily responses.

Genetic Differences: In the world of medicine and health, one size doesn't fit all. Dr. Beckman stresses the significance of genetic differences and how they affect the way individuals respond to treatments, food intake, and even detox protocols.

Nutrition in Healing: Nutrition is a key player in the healing process. Dr. Beckman highlights the importance of a balanced diet and how to make healthier choices, such as reducing sugar intake and incorporating more protein into meals.

Collaboration in Healthcare: Dr. Beckman advocates for a collaborative approach to healthcare, encouraging patients to find a lead practitioner who can coordinate with other specialists for comprehensive care.

Work with Dr. Beckman: Those who want to learn more about Dr. Beckman's approach to health and wellness are invited to book a complimentary 15-minute discovery call, which can be easily scheduled through her Instagram or website.

Labs Unveiled - Mold and Organic Acid Testing Course: This groundbreaking course by Dr. Ashley Beckman, hosted at LabsUnveiled.com, is your ticket to mastery in the fight against mold toxicity. You'll become a proficient interpreter of urine mycotoxin testing and master key protocols for mold and organic acid testing. This comprehensive course will take you on a deep dive into the biology and pathology of mold toxicity, from understanding different mold species to exploring their impacts on human health.

This conversation with Dr. Beckman sheds light on the critical aspects of dealing with complex health conditions like Lyme disease, emphasizing individualized care, comprehensive testing, and the significant role of genetics, nutrition, and detoxification. This episode is a must-listen for anyone dealing with Lyme disease or other complex health conditions.

Episode 369: Lyme in the Family - an interview with Kerri Evans Seago

Welcome to Episode 369 of the Tick Boot Camp Podcast where we are joined by the resilient Kerri Evans Seago. Kerri shares her insightful and emotional journey dealing with Lyme disease, not only personally but as it afflicted her family as well.

Introduction: Kerri Evans Seago is welcomed to the Tick Boot Camp podcast by Rich Johannesen from Tick Boot Camp and special guest co-host Cassidy Colbery.

Background: Kerri opens up about her childhood, moving around Texas due to her dad's role as a Texas game warden, her severe allergies and eventually settling down with her husband 15 miles from her hometown, Abilene, TX.

Lyme Disease Diagnosis: Kerri talks about how her mother had Lyme disease, and how this experience impacted the understanding of her own diagnosis. Kerri's son, Brady, was also diagnosed with Lyme disease, further complicating their family's struggle with the illness.

Lyme Disease Symptoms and Treatments: Kerri shares the struggles and success in treating her Lyme disease. She discusses the different treatments like Doxycycline, and the toll these medications took on her body. She goes into detail about the physical manifestations of her illness, like brain fog and head pressure.

The Benefits of Ozone Therapy and Lymphatic Drainage: Kerri delves into her experiences with ozone therapy and lymphatic drainage, two therapies that have proven to be beneficial for her. These treatments have contributed to better sleep and symptom reduction.

Living and Learning with Lyme: Kerri emphasizes the importance of healthy living habits she and her son have adopted, owing much of their progress to their new diets. She also touches on how integral being a part of the Lyme community has been on her journey.

Dealing with POTS: Kerri talks about her battle with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and the strategies she uses to manage it, including Alka-Seltzer gold and a PEMF machine.

The Learning Journey: The hosts and Kerri discuss the importance of continually learning and adapting during the Lyme disease journey. It's about evolving and not letting Lyme define you.

Final Thoughts: The hosts close by discussing the journey of recovery from Lyme and the importance of understanding how stress and trauma can trigger our fight or flight response, further complicating our health situation.

Please tune in to Episode 369 of the Tick Boot Camp Podcast to hear more about Kerri Evans Seago's multi-generational Lyme experience and how she is managing life with Lyme.

Episode 368: Focus on Lyme - an interview with Tammy Crawford


  • Warm welcome to Tony Felice, our returning special guest co-host from episode 335: Kindness in Combat.
  • Introduction to Tammy Crawford, Executive Director of Focus on Lyme.

Tammy's Personal Journey:

  • The personal story of Tammy's daughter, Jessica, who battled Lyme disease.
  • The emotional and medical challenges faced by Tammy in seeking proper treatment and diagnosis for Jessica.
  • Encounter with Dr. Horowitz and the importance of finding a Lyme-literate physician.

Focus On Lyme:

  • Tammy's response to the Lyme community's struggles, including the formation of the non-profit Focus On Lyme.
  • Collaborative efforts with past podcast guests and their significant accomplishments, including:
    • Speaking on Capitol Hill.
    • Organizing research conferences.
    • Funding advancements in Lyme disease testing.
  • Overview of Tammy's bio-repository and its purpose.

The TGen Connection:

  • The recurring appearance of TGen in Tammy's journey and their role in Lyme disease research.
  • Specific discussions and projects with TGen.

Focus on Accurate Diagnosis:

  • Tammy's emphasis on the importance of accurate diagnosis to garner more funding and attention.
  • The challenges and limitations of current diagnostic measures and the potential of next-gen serology.

Breakthroughs & Discoveries:

  • Collaboration with researchers and scientists in the Lyme community.
  • Exciting advancements in Lyme disease research, including potential overlaps with cancer treatments.
  • The complexity of Lyme disease strains and the importance of understanding the differences.

Funding & Future Steps:

  • The financial challenges and efforts to fund more research, especially diagnostic improvements.
  • Tammy and her team are working on an FDA-cleared Lyme diagnostic tool.

Conclusion & Call to Action:

  • A look ahead for Focus On Lyme and Tammy's continued advocacy work.
  • A request for community involvement, collaboration, and investment.
  • How to contact and support Tammy's efforts through Focus Online.

Episode 367: Personalizing Lyme - an interview with Doctor Moses Laufer

Welcome to another insightful episode of the Tick Boot Camp podcast. In this episode, we had the pleasure to host Dr. Moses Laufer, a renowned doctor with substantial experience in treating Lyme disease patients. Alongside Dr. Laufer was our co-host Dani Tygr, a previous guest on our podcast and an amazing hairstylist who's not only a Lyme warrior but also a patient of Dr. Laufer.

Introduction: Meet our guest, Dr. Moses Laufer, who's made significant strides in the treatment of Lyme disease. With our co-host, Dani Tygr, we explore Dr. Laufer's approach to diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, considering factors often overlooked in traditional medicine.

Holistic Approach in Lyme Disease Treatment: Chronic conditions, such as Lyme disease, often require an innovative approach in their treatment. Dr. Laufer shares his experiences training physicians across the United States in unconventional treatment protocols focusing on factors that trigger inflammation, particularly in the gut.

Balancing Hormones While Undergoing Lyme Disease Treatment: Dr. Laufer highlights the potential benefits of bioidentical hormone replacement as a supportive therapy for balancing hormones while undergoing Lyme disease treatment. He stressed this is an important first step that results in some symptom relief and primes your body to better receive Lyme treatment.

The Impact of Lyme on Mental Health: Anxiety and emotional disturbances are common among Lyme patients. Our co-host, Dani, shares her experiences dealing with anxiety due to Lyme, emphasizing the importance of considering mental health during treatment. Dr. Laufer provides guidance on managing anxiety and mental health symptoms when dealing with Lyme.

Personalizing Lyme Disease Treatment: Dr. Laufer emphasizes the necessity of personalized treatment for Lyme disease. He shares his approach to addressing inflammation, hormonal issues, and building an immune response before incorporating antibiotics or alternative antimicrobials into the treatment regime.

Antibiotics for Lyme Disease: Dr. Laufer warns that antibiotics have a negative impact on gut health. If patients decide to proceed with antibiotics, he provides guidance on mitigating the risks of antibiotics. Additionally, Dr. Laufer emphasized one antibiotic will never be effective for Lyme and that a combination of antibiotics to address Lyme's spirochetal, round body, cell deficient, and biofilm forms, as well as intracellular Lyme bacteria, must be used. He identifies a wide range of antibiotics and highlights which ones work best for all the different forms of Lyme.

Role of Peptides and Diet in Lyme Disease Treatment: Dr. Laufer explains the potential benefits and drawbacks of all different types of peptides in Lyme disease treatment. He also underscores the importance of diet in managing symptoms and shares strategies for identifying foods that trigger gut dysfunction.

Bringing Light to Unseen Battles and Unheard Voices: Dr. Moses Laufer, a relentless advocate for patients battling invisible illnesses, offers a profound perspective on the unseen intensity of their struggle. His unique ability to convey the magnitude of their battle not only gives a voice to those immersed in the depths of such challenges, often misunderstood by others, but also enlightens those who stand beside them, unable to fully comprehend their experience. For many, like Dani's husband Philip and others in immediate families, hearing about the taxing reality of these illnesses from Dr. Laufer—a medical professional—is pivotal in gaining a clearer understanding. His passionate representation is an invaluable source of awareness and empathy, bridging the gap between the invisible battles and those standing on the outside.

Significance of Physical Activity for Lyme Patients: Regular physical activity can significantly improve the health of Lyme patients who are well enough. Physical activity will look different for patients depending on where they are in their healing journey. It can include gentle movement and stretches in bed, slow walks, or even muscle-building exercises and cardio. Dr. Laufer encourages patients to incorporate it into their daily routine to support their recovery process.

Join us as we delve deep into the world of Lyme disease treatment, learning from the experiences and wisdom of Dr. Moses Laufer. This episode is a wealth of knowledge for anyone dealing with Lyme disease or chronic conditions in general.

Remember, the show notes contain key information discussed in the podcast, but for a more comprehensive understanding, tune into the full episode.

Episode 366: Inside Bartonella - an interview with Professor Ed Breitschwerdt

In this episode, we are thrilled to be interviewing Professor Ed Breitschwerdt, a renowned expert in the field of Bartonella research, often a co-infection of Lyme disease. He is currently a professor of medicine and infectious disease at North Carolina State University and an adjunct professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center. He has written 186 research studies with the word "Bartonella" in the title.

Research Lab: His laboratory focuses on testing animals, especially companion animals like cats, dogs, and horses, for vector-transmitted infectious diseases, like Bartonella and Lyme disease. Through years of intensive research, Professor Breitschwerdt and his team have become the reference laboratory for these diseases in animals.

An Expert in the Field: Professor Breitschwerdt also directs North Carolina State University's Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory in the Institute for Comparative Medicine, co-directs the Vector Borne Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory, and has co-supervised the Tick-transmitted Diagnostic Laboratory since 1984. He has also supervised a biosafety level P-3 research laboratory.

The Focus on Bartonella: Currently, there are about 15 to 16 known species of Bartonella causing diseases in humans. The most common disease caused by Bartonella is endocarditis, a life-threatening infection of the heart.

Bartonella and Schizoaffective Disorders: Professor Breitschwerdt has performed studies strongly suggesting a connection between Bartonella infections and psychosis, mood disorders, and Tourette's syndrome. A study found that almost all schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder patients tested positive for Bartonella and had symptom relief once receiving proper treatment.

Bartonella's Effect on the Microbiome and Immune System: Chronic infection with Bartonella can alter the normal microbiome of the intestinal tract, likely due to immunosuppression or the disruption of immune modulation. Different strains of Bartonella may also lead to different symptoms in the human body. Once Bartonella enters the host, it becomes predominantly intracellular, infecting many different types of cells.

Role of Galaxy Diagnostics in Bartonella Research: Galaxy Diagnostics, where Professor Breitschwerdt is the Chief Scientific Officer, has played a significant role in progressing Bartonella research and testing. This organization uses insect growth media and digital PCR for cultivating and identifying Bartonella in blood tests. Galaxy Diagnostics has become one of the leading Bartonella testing labs in the world.

Bartonella Transmission: Professor Breitschwerdt cited numerous studies he's performed which suggest Bartonella can be transmitted sexually, through blood transfusions, congenitally from mother to child, or through a variety of vectors like ticks, cats, and bats to human beings.

The Importance of Animals in Understanding Bartonella: Studying the effects of Bartonella in animals can provide important insights into how it behaves in humans. In some instances, the same Bartonella species can cause different diseases in humans and animals, adding another layer of complexity to the research.

Closing Thoughts: Though there are still many questions surrounding Bartonella, researchers like Professor Breitschwerdt are working tirelessly to deepen our understanding.

Episode 365: Resilience Over Lyme - an interview with Britney Serpa-Smith

In this special Tick Boot Camp Podcast episode, we were joined by Britney Serpa Smith, a cybersecurity professional based in New York City, and our special guest co-host, Dianna Brescia.

Britney's Journey with Lyme Disease: Britney grew up in New York City and later moved to Connecticut, where she spent most of her childhood unaware of ticks and Lyme disease. It was around the age of 17 that she fell ill, with her official diagnosis coming before her freshman year of college. She had been unwell for two to three years before that. Britney opens up about her struggle with Lyme disease, its debilitating symptoms, and how she managed to navigate through her collegiate years despite the illness. Her battle with Lyme disease was marked with extreme fatigue, neuropathy, fainting spells, muscle pain, and more. However, Britney kept pushing forward, determined to continue her studies.

Challenges and Successes in Britney's Journey: Britney sheds light on the social impacts of her illness, describing how it affected her personal and academic life. She also talks about the importance of understanding and supportive people in her journey, from professors to friends.

Despite the many challenges, Britney graduated from college and became a cybersecurity professional. Her journey stands testament to the resilience and perseverance of individuals dealing with chronic illnesses.

Diagnosis and Treatment: Throughout the podcast, Britney shares the details of her treatment regimen for Lyme disease and co-infections. She emphasizes the importance of staying on top of treatments, managing one's health, and not delaying treatment as she did at one point in her journey.

Dealing with Re-infection: One significant point in Britney's story was her re-infection. Despite not finding a bullseye indicative of a tick bite, she started experiencing familiar symptoms and decided to seek treatment. Britney discusses the importance of listening to your body and seeking help when needed.

Advice and Insights from Britney's Journey: Britney offers several pieces of advice for those battling Lyme disease. She stresses the importance of staying on top of your treatment regimen, being cautious of your limitations, and seeking help when necessary. She also highlights the importance of incorporating physical activities like weightlifting and yoga into one's routine.

Conclusion: In this enlightening podcast, Britney Serpa Smith shares her journey from being diagnosed with Lyme disease at 17 to becoming a cybersecurity professional. Her story provides hope and inspiration for others dealing with similar struggles, demonstrating that it is possible to lead a fulfilling life despite chronic illness.

Connect with Britney Serpa Smith on LinkedIn under Britney Serpa-Smith and on Instagram at @bserpss_.

Episode 364: The Lyme Puzzle - an interview with Professor Nicole Baumgarth


  • In this episode of Tick Boot Camp, our hosts Matt Sabatello and Rich Johannesen had the opportunity to talk with the remarkable Professor Nicole Baumgarth, director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Baumgarth brings a unique interdisciplinary background in veterinary medicine, immunology, microbiology, and pathology offering fresh insights into the complex world of Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses.

Lyme Disease Research

  • Baumgarth and her team are investigating why we don't mount an effective adaptive immune response to Lyme as we do with influenza (the flu).
  • She reveals their interesting finding about how Borrelia may alter the host's gut microbiome to enhance its survival.
  • Baumgarth and her team are currently investigating why macrophages, immune cells that gobble up pathogens outside of our cells, don't eat up Lyme bacteria as they do with other bacteria and viruses.
  • They are also investigating the impact Lyme has on obliterating our lymph nodes, which are critical agents in receiving signals from our body and mounting a specified immune response with targeted B cells and T cells against things like Lyme disease, as well as deploying long term memory immune cells and plasma cells which would give us long-term immunity to Lyme.
  • The Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Institute is focusing on investigating why mice get infected with Lyme, the infection persists, yet they never get sick from the infection.
  • If the team can identify human immune system deficits causing any of the above, they could identify immune therapies to overcome these shortcomings and treat all stages of Lyme disease.
  • Baumgarth and her team are also looking into the impact of tick-borne co-infections. They argue that it's critical to study these diseases together rather than in isolation.

Autoimmune Responses and Lyme Disease

  • Professor Baumgarth suggests that Lyme disease may cause an autoimmune response, which can be particularly concerning for those with genetic predispositions to autoimmunity.
  • She cites several studies, both in the human model and mouse model, proving that Lyme disease creates an unnecessary increase in other antibodies from our immune system that aren't Lyme-related, resulting in an autoimmunity phenomenon, increased inflammation, and potential immune system burnout.

Understanding Lyme Disease: A Veterinary Perspective

  • Professor Baumgarth's veterinary background has allowed her to approach Lyme disease from a macro perspective. She emphasizes that Lyme, being a zoonotic disease, is fundamentally an infection that moves from animals to humans.
  • Lyme disease is often a natural infection in animals such as small rodents and birds, where ticks can bite them and transmit the disease.

Investigating the Human Immune Response to Lyme Disease

  • Our hosts discuss how humans' immune responses to Lyme vary significantly. Some people are bitten by ticks multiple times without falling ill, while others suffer from chronic Lyme after just one bite.
  • This discrepancy might be due to factors such as genetic predispositions, environmental stresses, or an individual's microbial load.

The Complexity of Eradicating Lyme

  • Eliminating Lyme is not as simple as wiping out a certain animal species, as the bacteria Borrelia can infect a variety of different rodents and even birds.
  • Borrelia is a complex bacterium that replicates slowly and requires a tick to infect a host. It's constantly evolving and it's not a simple task to eradicate Lyme from our ecology.

The Role of Antibiotics and Their Impact

  • Despite their potential long-term impact on our immune response, antibiotics are currently the most common form of treatment as soon as Lyme disease is diagnosed. Professor Baumgarth emphasizes a variety of risks when using antibiotics to treat Lyme disease.
  • While antibiotics can help in the short term, their effect on our long-term immunity to future infections is still unclear and Professor Baumgarth strongly warns against prolonged use of antibiotics.

Final Thoughts

  • Baumgarth is hopeful about the future of Lyme disease research. Despite the challenges and controversies, she believes that continued progress is possible with dedicated research and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Episode Wrap-up

  • Professor Nicole Baumgarth's interview provides an enlightening look into the intricate world of Lyme disease and its complex interaction with our immune system. Her unique veterinary perspective coupled with her background in immunology, microbiology, and pathology as well as her research findings shed light on the challenges we face and offer hope for future breakthroughs in the fight against Lyme and tick-borne diseases.
The goal of the Tick Boot Camp Podcast is to help people liberate themselves and others from suffering caused by Lyme disease through validation, community building, belief that healing is possible, and modeling success. Listen to our Tick Boot Camp podcast using all major podcast streaming services such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Our podcast is also integrated with smart home devices, such as Amazon Alexa and Apple TV. Ask your device to "play the Tick Boot Camp Podcast!"