Alpha-Gal Syndrome: From Diagnosis to (Ingredient) Detective
FARE Webinar for Research
This webinar will provide an overview of Alpha Gal Syndrome (AGS) – the tick-borne condition that upon exposure to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (“alpha-gal”) renders patients allergic to mammalian meats and the myriad by-products that contain mammalian-derived ingredients (e.g. pharmaceuticals and vaccines).
Participants will receive the best available and most current information. They will learn about diagnosis and the key areas of support required for AGS patients of all ages, with a focus on dietary needs and how to be an ingredient detective. The instructors will also review pharmaceutical considerations (OTC, Rx, and vaccines) and social challenges faced by the patient in the workplace and school, with friends/family, and with their health care team. While much information will be presented, attendees will leaving feeling empowered and able to act on the knowledge learned.
About the Presenters
Beth Carrison has 30+ years of experience in business development and healthcare patient advocacy. Since 1996, she has managed over 30 different food allergies within her family unit: in addition, two family members were diagnosed multiple times with Lyme Disease. Being diagnosed herself with two tick-borne conditions - Lyme Disease and Alpha-gal Syndrome (also known as the "Red Meat Allergy" or "Mammalian Meat Allergy") unfortunately gave Ms. Carrison a firsthand perspective on both tick-borne conditions and anaphylaxis. Since her diagnosis, she has passionately given her time to others in the Alpha-gal community through individual connections and numerous speaking engagements across the country.
In 2018, Ms. Carrison co-founded Tick-Borne Conditions United (TBC United), with Dr. Jennifer Platt. In 2019, Ms. Carrison was appointed as a patient advocate to the federal 2020 Alpha-gal Syndrome Subcommittee, which serves the federal Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG) under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Ms. Carrison encourages everyone to join at least one community organization and volunteer their time and talents whenever possible.
Jennifer Platt, Dr.PH has decades of experience in public health and environmental program development. She has led the creation of nationally recognized, award-winning education programs and has spoken extensively to audiences of all sizes.
While working on her doctorate in public health from the University of North Carolina in 2011, Dr. Platt contracted Ehrlichiosis. She was later confirmed to also have Lyme Disease and Babesia.
Dr. Platt's personal experience with tick-borne illness led her to create TickWarriors in 2016, which provides ecro-friendly tick protection for people, pets and property. The pervasive need for education and awareness led Dr. Platt to co-found TBC United in 2018 with Beth Carrison.
Dr. Tina Merritt, TBC United Board Chairwoman Dr. Merritt is a practicing allergist & Immunologist in Bentonville, AR. Dr. Merritt graduated from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine in 1996 and has been in practice for more than 20 years. She completed a residency at University of Arkansas College of Medicine. She currently practices at Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Northwest Arkansas and is affiliated with Northwest Medical Center Bentonville. Dr. Merritt is board certified in Allergy and Immunology; Pediatrics.
Dr. Merritt is known for her research on Alpha-gal, an allergy to beef, pork and gelatin related to tick bites. Shortly after finishing her postgraduate training she learned of a patient who died in Bentonville, Arkansas, from an immediate reaction to a cancer medication, made from an antibody made from a mammal. Dr. tina Hatley Mertitt in Arkansas and Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills in Virginia developed a test to evaluate these allergic reactions. Researchers at Imclone determined the reaction to the cancer medication was from an allergy to a sugar-protein called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, abbreviated Alpha-gal. A landmark article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, describing this new type of allergic reaction to a sugar plus protein. Dr. Merritt continues her passion to help those with Alpha-gal Syndrome, through many avenues, including her participation with the Arkansas Alpha-gal Task Force.
She is the director of White Cell Support Group, a nonprofit support group for patients with primary immune deficiency. Dr. Merritt is a noted speaker for asthma and immune deficiency. She participates in the National Asthma Screening for the the past 16 years.