This book was written by Seymour Diamond MD and Mary A. Franklin. Dr. Diamond is a family physician and not a neurologist. Dr. Diamond became interested in headache many years ago. He was a pioneer in the use of educational forums for medical marketing. Otherwise, he has made no real contribution to our understanding of the neurobiology of head pain. Instead, he continues to promote Wolff's vascular hypothesis of migraine (pages 66-67). This hypothesis states that migraine is a disorder of blood vessel size -- vasoconstriction (narrowing) causes the neurological symptoms of migraine and vasodilation causes the throbbing head pain of migraine. We now know that central and peripheral neural mechanisms are responsible for the symptoms of migraine. The headache of migraine begins before there is vasodilation. Some agents can cause vasodilatation and head pain. But equally potent vasodilators (eg, vasoactive intestinal peptide) may not cause pain despite tremendous vasodilation. The newest treatment for migraine ("calcitonin gene-related peptide antagonists") are as effective as ergotamine and Imitrex without the vasoconstriction effect that makes them risky for patients with vascular disease.
As a neurologist who has suffered from migraine headaches since my first year of medical school and a head pain specialist who has seen over 10,000 patients since 1978, I am puzzled why this book was written. The historical descriptions regarding the cause(s) of head pain are unlikely to interest non-physicians. Knowing that some famous people suffered from migraine may have provided some solace to migraine sufferers when physicians believed that migraine was a psychosomatic disorder -- caused by the "resentments and dissatisfactions of life" (Harold G. Wolff). Now that the neural basis of migraine is firmly established, such reassurance seems unnecessary.
Migraine has a prevalence of 11% in the general population (6% of men and 18% of women). Approximately 1 out of 4 women around the age of 40 suffer from migraine. It is hardly surprising that prominent writers, artists, actors, peformers, doctors, generals, and politicians have experienced migraine headaches. Migraine can afflict celebrities and criminals. There is no evidence (unfortunately) that migraine confers special intelligence, talent, or wisdom.