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History in Neurology: Seminal Citations
August 2000

Migraine: The Evolution of Our Knowledge

Author Affiliations

From The New England Center for Headache, PC, Stamford, Conn (Dr Rapoport); and the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (Dr Edmeads).



Arch Neurol. 2000;57(8):1221-1223. doi:10.1001/archneur.57.8.1221

Throughout history, physicians have approached a disease by recognizing it as an entity, understanding its nature, and searching for its cause. They have devised treatments that flow logically from that understanding. Headache, an ancient and much-studied complaint, has a rich historical literature that illustrates the evolution of our knowledge from the magical to the molecular level.

Five thousand years ago, Mesopotamian physicians viewed headache as a disease entity rather than a symptom and attributed it to an evil spirit named Tiu. A clinical description from that time noted:

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