This volume purports to be a comprehensive review, but it is uneven in the emphasis it gives to various aspects of pain. The quality of the 134 reports by 171 authors, mostly from the European continent, varies widely. Sections on pain measurement, afferent systems, perception, and pain processing in the central nervous system are worthwhile. A skimpy section on psychosomatic aspects of treatment contains four unclear articles emphasizing hypnotherapy and an informative one by H. K. Beecher on the placebo effect. Chronic intractable pain syndromes are incompletely dealt with, mainly in a section on surgical treatment methods.
The book is top-heavy with laboratory and clinical studies on pentazocine, an opioid antagonist that possesses analgesic properties. The research design of many of these papers leaves this reader uneasy, and the abuse potential of this drug is passed over lightly.
The symposium and its publication were supported by the Winthrop Products Company.