July 5, 1971

Migraine: The Evolution of a Common Disorder

Author Affiliations

Duke University Durham, NC


by Oliver W. Sacks, 298 pp, 10 illus, $8.50, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971.

JAMA. 1971;217(1):84. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190010066035

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This is a very readable, well organized and appropriately referenced text on the subject of migraine. It contains frequent mention of the classic writings on the subject and often refers specifically to patients in the author's own practice. It is clearly written, making it comprehensible to laymen, yet sufficiently detailed and scientifically based to be interesting and educational for physicians.

The early chapters examine the clinical expressions of migraine and the factors that seem to be related to its occurrence. At times the definition of migraine, or migraine equivalent, as used in these chapters seems to include almost every paroxysmal nervous system disorder of unknown etiology. The author, however, does indicate the importance of other diagnostic considerations and the challenge posed when symptoms occur in the absence of headache.

The chapter on migraine aura and classical migraine contains many excellent clinical details and descriptions and can be recommended to anyone