Joel Howell is co-author in a paper published in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, “The heartfelt music of Ludwig van Beethoven.” The paper analyzes several of Beethoven's compositions for clues of a heart condition some have speculated he had.
“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.”
Goldberger ZD, Whiting SM, Howell JD. The heartfelt music of Ludwig van Beethoven. Perspect Biol Med. 2014 Spring;57(2):285-94. doi: 10.1353/pbm.2014.0013.