cover image The Migraine Brain: The Breakthrough Guide for Healing Your Headache

The Migraine Brain: The Breakthrough Guide for Healing Your Headache

Carolyn Bernstein, Author, Elaine McArdle, Author . Free Press

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.)