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Migraine

A History

Katherine Foxhall

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A cultural, social, and medical history of migraine.

For centuries, people have talked of a powerful bodily disorder called migraine, which currently affects about a billion people around the world. Yet until now, the rich history of this condition has barely been told.

In Migraine, award-winning historian Katherine Foxhall reveals the ideas and methods that ordinary people and medical professionals have used to describe, explain, and treat migraine since the Middle Ages. Touching on classical theories of humoral disturbance and medieval bloodletting, Foxhall also describes early modern herbal…

A cultural, social, and medical history of migraine.

For centuries, people have talked of a powerful bodily disorder called migraine, which currently affects about a billion people around the world. Yet until now, the rich history of this condition has barely been told.

In Migraine, award-winning historian Katherine Foxhall reveals the ideas and methods that ordinary people and medical professionals have used to describe, explain, and treat migraine since the Middle Ages. Touching on classical theories of humoral disturbance and medieval bloodletting, Foxhall also describes early modern herbal remedies, the emergence of neurology, and evolving practices of therapeutic experimentation. Throughout the book, Foxhall persuasively argues that our current knowledge of migraine's neurobiology is founded on a centuries-long social, cultural, and medical history. This history, she demonstrates, continues to profoundly shape our knowledge of this complicated disease, our attitudes toward people who have migraine, and the sometimes drastic measures that we take to address pain.

Migraine is an intimate look at how cultural attitudes and therapeutic practices have changed radically in response to medical and pharmaceutical developments. Foxhall draws on a wealth of previously unexamined sources, including medieval manuscripts, early-modern recipe books, professional medical journals, hospital case notes, newspaper advertisements, private diaries, consultation letters, artworks, poetry, and YouTube videos. Deeply researched and beautifully written, this fascinating and accessible study of one of our most common, disabling—and yet often dismissed—disorders will appeal to physicians, historians, scholars in medical humanities, and people living with migraine alike.

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Katherine Foxhall

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Reviews

Reviews

In Migraine, Katherine Foxhall delivers a thorough and illuminating history of migraine that traces our endeavors to understand, treat and eliminate this painful condition we still know little about... Foxhall's history of migraine, unlike the self-help books, accommodates human complexity without scanting medicine's contributions to a condition that affects roughly 1 in 7 people on our planet. A lively, scholarly book about migraine, Foxhall's history is also a treatise on the human condition.

I had not come across such a comprehensive and concise book written about [migraine]... This should be on the student nurse and doctor reading list and any clinician caring for patients as this is important to understand migraines and the journey along the way – we are still learning.

Foxhall has written the most comprehensive, well-researched, and in-depth history of migraine in existence. Drawing on completely original research, this book is a truly wonderful compendium of Western medicine's approach to and treatment of migraine over the centuries.

A fascinating and very well-written book. With verve and passion, Katherine Foxhall issues a call to arms that uses history to make its case.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
292
ISBN
9781421429489
Illustration Description
26 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

List of Figures
Acknowledgments
Note on Terminology and Names
Chapter 1. Introduction: Programmed In?
Chapter 2. The "Beating of Hammers": Classical and Medieval Approaches to Hemicrania
Chapter 3. "Take

List of Figures
Acknowledgments
Note on Terminology and Names
Chapter 1. Introduction: Programmed In?
Chapter 2. The "Beating of Hammers": Classical and Medieval Approaches to Hemicrania
Chapter 3. "Take Housleeke, and Garden Wormes": Migraine Medicine in the Early Modern Household
Chapter 4. A "Deadly Tormenting Megrym": Expanding Markets and Changing Meanings
Chapter 5. "The Pain Was Very Much Relieved and She Slept": Gender and Patienthood in the Nineteenth Century
Chapter 6. "As Sharp as If Drawn with Compasses": Victorian Vision, Men of Science, and the Making of Modern Migraine
Chapter 7. "A Shower of Phosphenes": Twentieth-Century Stories and the Medical Uses of History
Chapter 8. "Happy Hunting Ground": Conceptual Fragmentation and Medication in the Twentieth Century
Chapter 9. "If I Could Harness Pain": The Migraine Art Competitions, 1980-1987
Chapter 10. Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Katherine Foxhall
Featured Contributor

Katherine Foxhall

Social and medical historian Katherine Foxhall earned her PhD from the University of Warwick. She is the author of Health, Medicine, and the Sea: Australian Voyages c. 1815–1860.