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Holding Court: Morris Levin and Thomas Ward

Morris Levin photoThomas Ward photo








Holding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we speak with Morris "Mo" Levin and Thomas Ward, headache specialists in the Department of Neurology at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and faculty at the Geisel School of Medicine.  Levin and Ward are the authors of Understanding Your Migraines: A Guide for Patients and Their Families (Oxford University Press, 2017), an accessible and practical source of information for those who suffer from migraines.

What is your book about?

Morris Levin (ML): This is a book about the nature, causes, and treatments of migraine for people who have the condition, as well as their families and friends.  Thomas Ward (TW): We intended to provide a case-based user-friendly resource of answers to questions that headache sufferers and their families often ask.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

TW: It was based on our combined work together at Dartmouth seeing patients in the Headache Clinic. The same questions and issues came up, again and again. We felt this showed how important some of these topics were to so many people.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

ML: For me, the research mission consists of continuing observation of patients, analyzing what we see, and designing careful studies about the nature and treatment of illness.  TW: Collaboration with colleagues and mentees, teaching, and being able to see so many patients over the years with so many diverse headache problems. Being at a large medical center helped provide these conditions.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

TW: Probably a small chip implanted in our brains that creates a heads up display, activated simply by thought, and linked to everyone else's chips and the internet. It might go beyond that to a genetic change accomplishing the same thing. I, however, will still like my books.  ML: Obviously, fewer books and journals on shelves, and lots of virtual search and learning platforms, attuned to different learning styles.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

ML: Decide which subjects stimulate you to the point where you will spend all day/night learning about them. Then do that. The research and writing will inevitably follow.  TW: Read, read, read as broadly and as much as possible. Talk to established topic authorities but also listen to new people in your fields of interest for new ways of approaching issues. Incorporate the good things you encounter and discard the rest.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

TW: I enjoy old medical texts, especially those that are greater than 100 years old.  ML: Novels that seem plausible and news that seems credible.

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