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Headache and migraine in childhood and adolescence
  1. Richard Peatfield

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    Edited by Vincenzo Guidetti, George Russell, Matti Sillanpää, and Paul Winner (Pp 487, £75.00). Published by Martin Dunitz, London, 2002. ISBN 1-85317-810-1

    Most patients with migraine report that their headaches started at least in adolescence, and often before puberty; indeed, migraine is particularly common in young boys, and the prevalence in girls exceeds that in boys only after puberty. Many of these children and their parents seek medical advice, and headache in all its forms constitutes a significant proportion of the workload of general paediatricians, as well as more specialised paediatric neurological or headache clinics.

    Four distinguished experts, from Italy, Scotland, Finland, and the United States, have edited this heavyweight textbook on paediatric headache—according to the back cover “aimed at neurologists . . .but also of great use to paediatricians”. I feel that much of the book covers ground discussed better in the multiplicity of books designed for adult neurologists, though some sections, most notably the discussion of headache as a symptom of structural diseases, are very sound. Much is discussed from a somewhat psychoanalytical viewpoint, which is perhaps a reflection of the fact that 28 of the 43 authors are Italian.

    As an adult neurologist I found little of value in the text, as much is covered more succinctly in other books, and relatively little seemed to be devoted specifically to the problems of children. I found the page layout difficult; there often appeared to be consecutive pages of print unrelieved by even a heading, let alone a table or an illustration of some kind.

    I see this as a useful book for departmental libraries, and yet I look forward to reading a smaller book about headache written by paediatricians assuming knowledge of the current adult texts.

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