Heavy of Heart

Authors of an essay that appears in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine analyzed several of Beethoven’s compositions for clues of a heart condition some have speculated he had. The rhythms of certain parts of renowned works, researchers say, may in fact reflect the irregular rhythms of Beethoven’s own heart caused by cardiac arrhythmia.“His music may have been both figuratively and physically heartfelt,” says co-author Joel Howell, M.D., Ph.D, a professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

“When your heart beats irregularly from heart disease, it does so in some predictable patterns. We think we hear some of those same patterns in his music.”“The synergy between our minds and our bodies shapes how we experience the world.  This is especially apparent in the world of arts and music, which reflects so much of people’s innermost experiences,” Howell adds.

… Take for example the final movement “Cavatina” in Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat Major, Opus 130, an emotionally-charged piece that Beethoven said always made him weep. In the middle of the quartet, the key suddenly changes to C-flat major, involving an unbalanced rhythm that evokes dark emotion, disorientation and what has even been described as a “shortness of breath.”

In the composer’s directions to musicians playing the piece, the section is marked beklemmt, a German word that translates to “heavy of heart.”

via Was Beethoven’s music literally heartfelt? | University of Michigan Health System

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The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker

Eventually he came across the concept of “reproductive justice,” developed by black feminists who argued that the best way to raise women out of poverty is to give them control of their reproductive decisions. Finally, he had his “come to Jesus” moment and the bell rang. This would be his civil-rights struggle. He would serve women in their darkest moment of need. “The protesters say they’re opposed to abortion because they’re Christian,” Parker says. “It’s hard for them to accept that I do abortions because I’m a Christian.”
He gave up obstetrics to become a full-time abortionist on the day, five years ago, that George Tiller was murdered in church. The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker – Esquire

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Guidelines have an enormous amount of very useful information and I think they can be extremely helpful. But they shouldn’t be applied in a blanket way without thinking about the individual patient.

Drs. Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband have teamed up to write Your Medical Mind, a guidebook for patients trying to sift through medical choices and make the best decisions for themselves and their family members. (via nprfreshair)