Who does not know the itching that makes utterly crazy and only crabs can end it, no matter what the consequences are. But scratching helps only briefly. Why is that so and what happens in the body when we scratch an itch? Special nerve cells play an important role.
If it itches something terrible, only helps vigorous scratching. Almost immediately enters a pleasant feeling of relief. And unlike tickle does not matter if you scratch yourself, or someone else does it for you. Whether you make the pole used because you can not reach the itchy spot on your back.
What scratching causes itching in the body, was hardly investigated so far. But scientists at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis have thrown some light on these processes in 2009. The main actors ?? ?? in this context, specialized nerve cells in the spinal cord. Each of these cells has to care for a defined sensory field on the skin. Itches somewhere in this area, the cell sends electrical signals to the brains. It is then that the same sensory clawed field, then the neuron changes its signal pattern. Apparently put activity at the level of the spinal cord, what we feel to itch.
And the researchers were also able to explain why crabs usually only gives brief relief 30 seconds after scratching the nerve cells fall back into their old pattern signal and report the itch again to the brains.
Studies show that almost 20% percent of the people suffer from prolonged and annoying itching. But only half of them take it to the doctor. The problem is grossly underestimated according to the researchers and trivialized. Chronic itching has developed according to some dermatologists to an outright epidemic. Our eastern neighbors has even led to the establishment of a first interdisciplinary treatment of pruritus. Pruritus is the scientific term for itching that lasts for at least six weeks.
Chronic itching can have various causes, ranging from:
skin conditions such as eczema;
internal diseases such as renal failure;
neurological or psychiatric disorders;
or even a tumor in the head.
There may also be a combination of causes. Scientists are only at the beginning of the study.
If patients itch, describe the frequency and duration, they can bring the dermatologist often on the right track. But to then treat the actual cause, such as kidney or nerve disease or depression usually requires cooperation between different specialists.
Victims of chronic itch are often stigmatized: a bloody and opengekrabde skin works on many people repulsive. The result is that many patients withdrawing from their social environment. A vicious circle threatens. For everyday lighting of the complaints dermatologists nowadays fortunately lots of practical tips.
But medical science, of course, makes every effort to get on chronic itching at the same level of knowledge as other common diseases such as high blood pressure.