The Reynolds Homestead, an outreach center of Virginia Tech, will present the third Alpha-Gal Symposium on Saturday, Aug. 22 via webinar. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the cost to attend is $25.
This year, for the first time, the symposium will be offering CEU credits for medical professionals.
“For the health and safety of speakers and attendees, we felt it was best to take the symposium online this year,” said senior program manager Lisa Martin of the Reynolds Homestead. “People with Alpha-Gal are already immunocompromised, and we did not want to risk anyone’s health during the pandemic.”
The webinar will be professionally produced by Virginia Tech’s Continuing and Professional Education department, and registrants will receive a link to a recording of the event as well.
Alpha-Gal Syndrome is a condition that most often begins when a Lone Star tick bite transmits a sugar molecule called alpha-gal into the body. In some people, this triggers an immune system reaction that later produces mild to severe allergic reactions when they eat red meat. For some, skin contact or inhaling fumes can bring on reactions that may lead to anaphylaxis.
The Lone Star tick is found predominantly in the southeastern United States, and most cases of alpha-gal syndrome occur in this region. The condition appears to be spreading farther north and west, however, as deer carry the Lone Star tick to new parts of the United States. Alpha-gal syndrome also has been diagnosed in Europe, Australia, and Asia, where other types of ticks carry alpha-gal molecules.
The symposium will offer several speakers who will speak to different aspects of this baffling syndrome. Tick-Borne Conditions United co-founder Beth Carrison has been actively involved in advocacy for Alpha-Gal sufferers, and she was instrumental in the research work that led to AGS being recognized by the Centers for Disease Control. Her presentation “Your Legal Rights and Alpha Gal” will address how those suffering from AGS can ensure that they understand their legal rights, including protections under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). This presentation will be especially useful for parents who have children with AGS, as they can petition their schools to implement a 504 plan to help manage their child’s symptoms and reactions. A 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.
Dr. Jennifer Platt, CEO of Tick Warriors and Co-founder of Tick-Borne Conditions United will begin the session with “Let’s Talk about Ticks: ID, Protection and Prevention.” While working on her doctorate in public health from UNC in 2011, Platt contracted Ehrlichiosis and was later confirmed to also have Lyme and Babesia. Her personal experience with tick-borne illness and interest in using environmentally safe products led her to start TickWarriors in 2016, and to co-found Tick-Borne Conditions United along with Beth Carrison in 2018.
At last year’s symposium, Dr. Donald Liebell, head of the Liebell Clinic for Chronic Pain and Wellness Solutions in Virginia Beach, presented a keynote address about the specialized acupuncture procedure (SAAT) that has provided remission for many people with the red meat allergy. Dr. Liebell will return this year to present the results of his 2-year study of 40 people who have undergone the SAAT procedure.
For 27 years, Dr. Donald Liebell has been a natural and holistic health specialist, with licenses in acupuncture and chiropractic through the Virginia Board of Medicine. He has had the privilege of seeing firsthand, on a regular basis, that people can overcome the numerous chronic effects of tick-triggered illnesses without drugs. Dr. Liebell is the writer and designer of 2 health websites, and the author of the book,” Biting Back – How to Naturally Overcome the Effects of Lyme Disease and Other Chronic Tick-Triggered Illness… After All Else Has Failed.”
Following Dr. Liebell’s presentation, a four-person panel will discussion their experiences with the SAAT treatment. The panel features 2 participants for whom the treatment worked, one person for whom it did not, and a local Lynchburg practitioner who performs the treatment. After each person presents, webinar attendees will be able to ask questions.