Migraine: Understanding a Common Disorder Expanded and Updated

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University of California Press, Oct 1, 1986 - Migraine - 270 pages
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In recent years the bestselling Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat have received great critical acclaim, but Oliver Sacks's readers may remember that he began his medical career working with migraine patients. In this, the latest edition of "Migraine," he returns to his first book and enriches it with additional case histories, new findings, and practical information on treatment.

To define "migraine, " suggests Oliver Sacks, one must embrace the dizzying variety of experiences of its sufferers. For some, the affliction features of a headache of monumental proportions. For others, there is no pain at all. Some attacks are triggered by weather, some intense light. Still others consist of intense light -- hallucinatory displays of dazzling loops, stars, and geometrics.

"Migraine" is Sacks's brilliant examination of a debilitating ailment and the profound implications of neurological illness. Synthesizing his patients' case histories with 2,000 years of human research into the problem, he casts the migraine as exemplar of our psychological transparency, a complex biological response to external factors. Here is a classic meditation on the nature of health and malady, on the unity of mind and body. Here, too, is Sacks's discovery of how the migraine shows us, through hallucinatory displays, the elemental activity of the cerebral cortex -- and potentially, the self-organizing patterns of Nature itself. Enormously compelling, compassionate, and profound, Migraine offers comfort for sufferers -- and insight to all.

  

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Page 88 - Moreover, something is or seems, That touches me with mystic gleams, Like glimpses of forgotten dreams 'Of something felt, like something here; Of something done, I know not where; Such as no language may declare.
Page 88 - We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remembered it ! I never had this mysterious impression more strongly in my life, than before he uttered those words.
Page 197 - As fear rises to an extreme pitch, the dreadful scream of terror is heard. Great beads of sweat stand on the skin. All the muscles of the body are relaxed. Utter prostration soon follows, and the mental powers fail. The intestines are affected. The sphincter muscles cease to act and no longer retain the contents of the body.
Page 53 - We carry with us the wonders we seek without us: there is all Africa and her prodigies in us; we are that bold and adventurous piece of Nature, which he that studies wisely learns in a compendium what others labour at in a divided piece and endless volume.
Page 106 - There are moments and it is only a matter of five or six seconds when you suddenly feel the presence of the eternal harmony. This phenomenon is neither terrestrial nor celestial, but it is an indescribable something, which man, in his mortal body, can scarcely endure he must either undergo a physical transformation or die. It is a clear and indisputable feeling: all...
Page 68 - ... the universe, that is, the whole mass of all things that are) is corporeal, that is to say, body; and hath the dimensions of magnitude, namely, length, breadth, and depth: also every part of body is likewise body, and hath the like dimensions; and consequently every part of the universe is body, and that which is not body is no part of the universe: and because the universe is all, that which is no part of it is nothing, and consequently nowhere.
Page 88 - Apropos of this case Hughlings Jackson says. '; I should never, in spite of Quaerens' case, diagnose epilepsy from the paroxysmal occurrence of ' reminiscence ' without other symptoms, although I should suspect epilepsy if that super-positive mental state began to occur very frequently...
Page 104 - I beheld neither in sleep, nor in dreams, nor in madness, nor with my carnal eyes, nor with the ears of the flesh, nor in hidden places; but wakeful, alert, and with the eyes of the spirit and the inward ears, I perceived them in open view and according to the will of God.
Page 2 - And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare, She sighs for ever on her pensive bed, Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
Page 103 - If two objects have the same logical form, the only distinction between them, apart from their external properties, is that they are different. 2.02331 Either a thing has properties that nothing else has, in which case we can immediately use a description to distinguish it from the others and refer to it; or, on the other hand, there are several things that have the whole set of their properties in common, in which case it is quite impossible to indicate one of them. For if there is nothing to distinguish...

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About the author (1986)

Oliver Wolf Sacks is a neurologist and writer. He was born in London, England on July 9, 1933. Sacks earned his medical degree at Oxford University and performed his internship at Middlesex Hospital in London and Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco. He completed his residency at UCLA. In 1965, Sacks became a clinical neurologist to the Little Sisters of the Poor and Beth Abraham Hospital. He also worked with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Sacks' work in a Bronx charity hospital led him to write the book Awakenings in 1973. The book inspired a play by Harold Pinter and became a film starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. Sacks was also elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He also wrote Mind's Eye which made The NewYork Times Bestseller list for 2010.

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