Letter from The Publisher
I cannot begin to tell you how gratifying it has been to receive the heartfelt compliments concerning the inaugural edition of Radius magazine. So many folks were surprised to learn of all the fascinating things that are going on in Newark. I have even met people living in Newark who were surprised at how much is happening in the city. I believe we have struck a chord that is going to resonate with each successive issue. I certainly hope so.
In this issue of Radius, we take you on an architectural tour de force inside some of the city’s most important buildings. We also go behind the scenes at NJPAC, with CEO John Schreiber as our guide. For intrepid diners, we present a review of Mompou, as well as On the Plate, where Newark restaurant owners describe the menu items they use to turn first-timers into regulars. For history buffs, we look at Newark’s music, baseball and aviation heritages with stories that I guarantee will deepen your appreciation for the city’s past.
Each issue of Radius includes a section we call Circumference. Circumference extends our reach beyond the city limits and highlights topics that are relevant to the surrounding suburbs. To my mind, nothing could be more relevant than Terry Schaefer’s story in this issue, entitled Man vs. Lyme. It explores the disparity between the practice of allopathic medicine (as used by conventional doctors) and integrative medicine. Terry is a former Today Show producer who knows how to dig for a story. She also has a personal connection to Lyme disease…as do I.
I personally had Lyme disease for a couple of years. Also, one of the integrative doctors quoted in the article (Dr. Kristine Gedroic) is my daughter.
I found out that I had Lyme disease after I began to suffer from atrial fibrillation, which is a cardiological disorder that makes the upper chambers of your heart (the atria) flutter instead of beating regularly—depriving the pumping vessels below (the ventricles) of a steady, uniform flow of blood. It is essentially an electrical dislocation; it does not affect someone with a sedentary lifestyle, but it does prevent the victim from any form of serious exertion.
During my course of treatment, I became aware of a troubling dichotomy in modern medicine. Conventional medical practice (your normal allopathic doctor) focuses on symptoms and their eradication, predominately employing drugs and surgery. Integrative medical practice, on the other hand, focuses on discovering a problem’s underlying cause. Integrative practice treats the symptom as a “red flag” that there is a basic imbalance that needs to be addressed. Morristown Hospital is in the early stages of launching an Integrative Medical Center as part of its conventional hospital. It will be the first in this region, and represents a truly revolutionary effort.
One familiar example of the contrast between allopathic medicine and integrative practice is the approach to heartburn. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid seeps above the esophageal valve and “burns” the soft tissue of the esophagus. Conventional medicine prescribes Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s). Your proton pump creates stomach acid, which a healthy human being needs for digestion. Stomach acid also represents the first line of defense against any toxins that have been orally ingested. Inhibiting the proton pump reduces the stomach acid and diminishes the burning feeling. Unfortunately, it also leaves the patient exposed to other threats. Stomach acid is essential to good digestion; consequently one of the side effects of PPI’s is significant, chronic irregularity. Worse, the body’s defense against orally ingested pathogens is weakened, leaving the patient vulnerable to nasty bacteria such as clostridium difficile, which kills more than 1,000 Americans every month.
The integrative medical approach to heartburn is to recommend holistic cures to strengthen or tone the esophageal valve, in order to prevent the stomach acid from invading the esophagus. More importantly, the integrative practitioner focuses on restoring digestive function—and facilitating transit time out of the stomach— in order to prevent reflux from happening in the first place. This integrative approach is a big part of the Man vs. Lyme story.
The spread of Lyme disease has reached epidemic proportions among the people of New Jersey and the Northeast. Even the CDC admits to the staggering number of new cases. The bacteria, however, is not always that simple to treat. And in this regard, the contrast between the integrative and allopathic approach to illness has never been starker. In the allopathic model, the emphasis is placed on antibiotics only. While antibiotics have helped many, others have not experienced success with this singular approach.
The encouraging news is that integrative physicians are finding success at eradicating the bacteria completely, rather than simply managing a patient with “chronic Lyme.” They look at the whole picture and attempt to globally improve a patient’s health and defense mechanisms in order to help the body help itself. In my case, it was achieved with a sophisticated herbal cocktail. None of the ingredients required a prescription. None had any side effects. It cured me of all parasites. Including Lyme.