Migraine: Understanding a Common Disorder Expanded and Updated

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University of California Press, 1985 - 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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About the author (1985)

Oliver Sacks was born in London, England on July 9, 1933. He received a medical degree from Queen's College, 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, he became a clinical neurologist to the Little Sisters of the Poor and Beth Abraham Hospital. His 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. His other works included An Anthropologist on Mars, The Mind's Eye, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Uncle Tungsten, Musicophilia, A Leg to Stand On, On the Move: A Life, and Gratitude. In 2007, he ended his 42-year relationship with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to accept an interdisciplinary teaching position at Columbia. In 2012, he returned to the New York University School of Medicine as a professor of neurology. He died of cancer on August 30, 2015 at the age of 82.

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