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The Migraine Brain: Your Breakthrough Guide to Fewer Headaches, Better Health Mass Market Paperback – November 24, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Bernstein, a neurologist who suffered her first migraines in her 20s, teaches at Harvard Medical School and is on staff at the Cambridge Health Alliance, where she founded the Women's Headache Center. With journalist McArdle, she presents a clear and comprehensive analysis of the migraine brain. Noting that there are about 30 million migraine sufferers in the U.S., Bernstein reveals that migraine is a complex neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. A severe headache is just one of its symptoms: others may be nausea, vomiting, visual changes or sensitivity to light or sound: the authors help readers identify the triggers that can bring on an attack (such as stress, insufficient sleep, menstrual periods or a host of other factors). Bernstein then helps the migraineur develop a personalized plan to prevent, abort, or rescue. The authors include research on the new triptan meds, which can interrupt the neurochemical reaction of an attack and halt a migraine in its tracks, as well as info on preventive medications (i.e., beta-blockers and antidepressants) and such alternative methods as biofeedback and acupuncture. Bernstein approaches the reader as she might patients—creatively, scientifically and sympathetically—offering a range of tactics and treatments to help migraine sufferers control and mitigate their pain. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Dr. Bernstein's program has helped hundreds of her patients master migraines, and her book can help you, too." -- Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., coauthor of You : Staying Young and You : On a Diet
"The Migraine Brain is the most complete and up-to-date resource and is a must for all migraine sufferers and anyone who lives with them. It is thorough, easy to understand, and well organized. The ultimate migraine resource." -- Nieca Goldberg, M.D., author of Dr. Nieca Goldberg's Complete Guide to Women's Health
"At last! The Migraine Brain offers real hope, help, and compassion to migraine sufferers everywhere." -- Pauline W. Chen, M.D.,author of Final Exam : A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality
"As a family doctor, I welcome this wonderful book, which can help patients reduce the impact of migraine on their lives. The Migraine Brain explains the subject well and makes understandable a complex condition. It is comprehensive and filled with practical tips for feeling better." -- Erica Swegler, M.D., 2006 Texas Family Physician of the Year
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Which is why I decided to read this book.
What a pleasant surprise!
Not only is this a well laid out explanation of how this chronic illness works (and despite the assertions of other reviewers. . . even if you manage to avoid headaches you STILL have the chronic illness) but the author manages to pack quite complicated neurological biology into a concise readily-understood package that anybody can read--it's actually an enjoyable read, and a fast one. This author has a true gift for translating medical science.
And, the physician who wrote this book is herself a migraine sufferer, which gives her words an additional cache and weight.
It makes the book personable and reassuring even in the face of its serious subject matter. You know she knows what happens during a migraine--from the inside out.
I especially liked her descriptions of the newer, very effective multi-level, multi-pronged treatment regimens and the warnings she gives about unproven fly-by-night alternatives. She illustrates a lot of this with case studies, but doesn't over-illustrate or use too many.
It's obvious that she wants to gently stress to the reader the concept that if you get migraines you need to work at finding a doctor and a treatment that are right for you, and that because you are dealing with complex neurology and not a broken bone, it may not be as simple or fast a fix.
The reader isn't just left with an "Oh, no! What now?" feeling at the end of the book, either, but instead is given actual tools to use to try to understand his particular symptoms, what they mean for him, what they tell him about his version of migraines, and how best to help his own doctor understand what's going on. I truly like the idea that headache sufferers and their doctors benefit mightily from a "migraine log." Such a simple idea, but a great one. It offers a sense of impending control and hope.
I highly recommend this book--and especially recommend it over and above Oliver Sacks's book on migraines, which I found very dated, very needlessly sprinkled with uselessly arcane medical jargon, and disturbingly run-through with the idea that the patients miiiiight somehow be responsible for their own illnesses.
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