Ah, that's the spot: Why scratching brings relief

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Offline Simulated

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Thu Jan 31, 1:22 PM ET
 


CHICAGO (Reuters) - Oh, it brings such blessed relief and now scientists can tell you why -- scratching an itch temporarily shuts off areas in the brain linked with unpleasant feelings and memories.

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"Our study shows for the first time how scratching may relieve itch," Dr. Gil Yosipovitch, a dermatologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said in a statement.

Prior studies have shown that pain, including vigorous scratching, inhibit the need to itch. Yosipovitch and colleagues looked at what goes on in the brain when a person is scratched.

He and colleagues used a technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging to see which areas of the brain are active during scratching. They scratched 13 healthy people with a soft brush on the lower leg on and off in 30-second intervals for a total of five minutes.

Scratching reduced activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex -- areas linked with pain aversion and memory.

And the more intensely a person was scratched, the less activity they found in these areas of the brain.

"It's possible that scratching may suppress the emotional components of itch and bring about relief," Yosipovitch said.

But they also found why one scratch often begets another.

Scratching increased activity in the secondary somatosensory cortex, a pain center, and in the prefrontal cortex, which is linked with compulsive behavior.

"This could explain the compulsion to continue scratching," Yosipovitch said.

The researchers noted that the study is limited because people were not scratching in response to an actual itch.

But they said understanding what goes on in the brain may lend clues about how to treat people tormented by chronic itch, including people with eczema and many kidney dialysis patients.

The study, which appears online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, was paid for by the National Institutes of Health.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen, Editing by Maggie Fox and David Wiessler)

From: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080131/sc_nm/itch_scratch_dc

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Offline neilep

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Ah, that's the spot: Why scratching brings relief
« Reply #1 on: 01/02/2008 19:52:10 »
Scratch thisITCH !!
Men are the same as women, just inside out !

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Offline Simulated

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Ah, that's the spot: Why scratching brings relief
« Reply #2 on: 01/02/2008 21:44:54 »
Yeah. I see.

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Offline neilep

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Ah, that's the spot: Why scratching brings relief
« Reply #3 on: 01/02/2008 22:01:01 »
Yeah. I see.

awwwlrighttt !! Geeeza ?
Men are the same as women, just inside out !

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Offline JimBob

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Ah, that's the spot: Why scratching brings relief
« Reply #4 on: 01/02/2008 22:04:48 »
Gawd, that is a bad rash, Neil!
The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein

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Offline neilep

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Ah, that's the spot: Why scratching brings relief
« Reply #5 on: 01/02/2008 22:37:49 »
Gawd, that is a bad rash, Neil!

it's all healed now !

Men are the same as women, just inside out !

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Offline rosalind dna

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Ah, that's the spot: Why scratching brings relief
« Reply #6 on: 01/02/2008 22:55:09 »
good and in the future don't scratch that itch or scab as it might get infected with pus which might get worse
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Offline Karen W.

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Ah, that's the spot: Why scratching brings relief
« Reply #7 on: 03/02/2008 13:50:19 »
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Thu Jan 31, 1:22 PM ET
 


CHICAGO (Reuters) - Oh, it brings such blessed relief and now scientists can tell you why -- scratching an itch temporarily shuts off areas in the brain linked with unpleasant feelings and memories.

ADVERTISEMENT
 
"Our study shows for the first time how scratching may relieve itch," Dr. Gil Yosipovitch, a dermatologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said in a statement.

Prior studies have shown that pain, including vigorous scratching, inhibit the need to itch. Yosipovitch and colleagues looked at what goes on in the brain when a person is scratched.

He and colleagues used a technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging to see which areas of the brain are active during scratching. They scratched 13 healthy people with a soft brush on the lower leg on and off in 30-second intervals for a total of five minutes.

Scratching reduced activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex -- areas linked with pain aversion and memory.

And the more intensely a person was scratched, the less activity they found in these areas of the brain.

"It's possible that scratching may suppress the emotional components of itch and bring about relief," Yosipovitch said.

But they also found why one scratch often begets another.

Scratching increased activity in the secondary somatosensory cortex, a pain center, and in the prefrontal cortex, which is linked with compulsive behavior.

"This could explain the compulsion to continue scratching," Yosipovitch said.

The researchers noted that the study is limited because people were not scratching in response to an actual itch.

But they said understanding what goes on in the brain may lend clues about how to treat people tormented by chronic itch, including people with eczema and many kidney dialysis patients.

The study, which appears online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, was paid for by the National Institutes of Health.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen, Editing by Maggie Fox and David Wiessler)

From: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080131/sc_nm/itch_scratch_dc

Good info Ryan..

I have a chronic itch it lies just above my shoulder blade bone where I can't reach it. It is the end of a heart surgical scar from infancy. about the last two inches heading towards my shoulder and neck.. it has this teeny spot that itches and oh man when I finally get it scratched.. Iv'e died and gone to heaven.... I always feel like a bear.. rubbing on door frames and trees..LOL I have even taken to keeping a pair of long sewing scissors close by for a quick scratch cause I can't reach it with my hand! I love having my back scratched... hmmmmmmmm It is heavenly!

"Life is not measured by the number of Breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."