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Overview

The many manifestations of migraine can vary dramatically from one patient to another, even within the same patient at different times. Among the most compelling and perplexing of these symptoms are the strange visual hallucinations and distortions of space, time, and body image which migraineurs sometimes experience. Portrayals of these uncanny states have found their way into many works of art, from the heavenly visions of Hildegard von Bingen to Alice in Wonderland. Dr. Oliver Sacks argues that migraine cannot...
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Migraine

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Overview

The many manifestations of migraine can vary dramatically from one patient to another, even within the same patient at different times. Among the most compelling and perplexing of these symptoms are the strange visual hallucinations and distortions of space, time, and body image which migraineurs sometimes experience. Portrayals of these uncanny states have found their way into many works of art, from the heavenly visions of Hildegard von Bingen to Alice in Wonderland. Dr. Oliver Sacks argues that migraine cannot be understood simply as an illness, but must be viewed as a complex condition with a unique role to play in each individual's life.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Balanced, authoritative . . . brilliant."
The London Times

"Written by one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century, Migraine . . . should be read as much for its brilliant insights into the nature of our mental functioning as for its discussion of the migraine."
The New York Times Book Review

"I am sure . . . that any layman who is interested in the relation between the body and mind . . . will find the book as fascinating as I have."
—W. H. Auden, The New York Review of Books

“Oliver Sacks’s commentary is so erudite, so gracefully written, that even those people fortunate enough never to have had a migraine in their lives should find it equally compelling.”
The New York Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307834102
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/29/2013
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 254,839
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks lives in New York City.

Biography

"I think writing and language are not just to articulate or communicate, but they are also to investigate," the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks once said. "For me, writing and medicine, writing and science, are not separate: they entail each other." Sacks grew up in a large and prodigiously gifted family of scientists; with their encouragement, he set up his own chemistry lab and spent his days in a swirl of sulfurous fumes and smoke. He was also fascinated by biographies, and spent hours poring over the lives of great scientists like Dmitri Mendeleev, Humphrey Davy,and Marie Curie. When the chaos of World War II and traumatic experiences at boarding school intruded on the "lyrical, mystical perceptions" of Sacks' childhood, he clung to scientific knowledge as a means of ordering and understanding the universe.

After his medical training at Oxford, Sacks migrated to the States to pursue a career in neurology research. But he made a clumsy lab researcher. "I was always dropping things or breaking things," he explained in a lecture, "and eventually they said: 'Get out! Go work with patients. They're less important.'" Sacks went to work at Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx, where he was struck by the sight of patients who had survived encephalitis lethargica, the "sleeping sickness." The patients were nearly immobile, but the nurses who cared for them insisted that there were living personalities behind the frozen masks, and Sacks believed the nurses. The story of his work with these patients is told in Sacks' 1973 book Awakenings, which inspired a movie starring Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro and also formed the basis of a play by Harold Pinter.

But Sacks is perhaps best known for his collections of case histories (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, An Anthropologist on Mars et al.), which probe the experiences of people with disorders and rare neurological conditions. In telling their stories, he often questions our assumptions about the nature of human consciousness. Part what distinguishes Sacks' work from the traditional case study is his interest in how a patient functions with a disorder, not just how he or she is impaired by it.

Sacks has also drawn on personal experience for wonderfully resonant scientific memoirs that recall his remarkable family, people who have influenced and inspired him, and his lifelong love of medicine and physical science. Meanwhile, he continues to work with patients, to understand them through writing about them, and to point his readers toward new ways of understanding themselves. As Thomas P. Sakmar, interim president of Rockefeller University, said in awarding Sacks the Lewis Thomas Prize: "Sacks presses us to follow him into uncharted regions of human experience -- and compels us to realize, once there, that we are confronting only ourselves."

Good To Know

As a child, Sacks was fascinated by the periodic table of the elements at the Science Museum in London. His boyhood love of chemistry hasn't waned: according to an article in Wired, Sacks owns half a dozen T-shirts with the periodic table printed on them, along with periodic-table coffee mugs, tote bags and mousepads.

Sacks's memoir Uncle Tungsten inspired the creation of Theodore Gray's Periodic Table Table, a wooden table representing Mendeleev's table of the elements and containing samples of each element. Sacks later paid a visit to see the Periodic Table Table -- wearing, of course, one of his periodic-table T-shirts.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      1933
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      B.M., B.Ch., Queen's College, Oxford, 1958

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface to the Revised (1992) Edition
Preface to the Original (1970) Edition
Acknowledgments
Foreword
Historical Introduction 1
Pt. I The Experience of Migraine
Ch. 1 Common Migraine 13
Ch. 2 Migraine Equivalents 34
Ch. 3 Migraine Aura and Classical Migraine 51
Ch. 4 Migrainous Neuralgia("Cluster Headache") - Hemiplegic Migraine - Ophthalmoplegic Migraine - Pseudo-Migraine 99
Ch. 5 The Structure of Migraine 109
Pt. II The Occurrence of Migraine
Ch. 6 The Predisposition to Migraine 119
Ch. 7 Periodic and Paroxysmal Migraines 133
Ch. 8 Circumstantial Migraine 140
Ch. 9 Situational Migraine 164
Pt. III The Basis of Migraine
Ch. 10 Physiological Mechanisms of Migraine 178
Ch. 11 The Physiological Organisation of Migraines 193
Ch. 12 Biological Approaches to Migraine 205
Ch. 13 Psychological Approaches to Migraine 211
Pt. IV Therapeutic Approaches to Migraine
Ch. 14 General Measures in the Management of Migraine 230
Ch. 15 Specific Measures During and Between Attacks 238
Ch. 16 Recent Advances in the Treatment of Migraine 256
Pt. V Migraine as a Universal
Ch. 17 Migraine Aura and Hallucinatory Constants 273
Appendix I. The Visions of Hildegard 299
Appendix II. Cardan's Visions (1570) 302
Appendix III. Remedies Advised by Willis (1672), Heberden (1801) and Gowers (1892) 304
Glossary of Case-Histories 307
Glossary of Terms 311
Bibliography 319
Index 329
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2005

    Must read if you get migraines - my doctor recommended

    This book is fantastic - very helpful to read about all the varied symptoms and manifestations in all kinds of migraines - not all of which involve a headache! Yes, I learned that in here, too. It's a great combination of medical explanation and layman's talk that most readers will understand. Keep it for a medical reference book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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