The fundamental factor for determining the adequate treatment of any disease or condition is an accurate understanding of the causes and mechanisms of their development. Understanding what causes itching in the patient, specialists can choose the most appropriate way to eliminate it.
However, as the recent discovery of American scientists has shown, the mechanism of itching is not so simple and it occurs in different parts of the body in different ways.
How does itch appear
Itching is a much more serious problem than it might seem at first glance. From 10 to 20% of the world’s population suffers from various forms of dermatitis, one of the symptoms of which is itching of the skin. An irresistible desire to scratch accompanies some kidney and liver diseases.
However, due to a very limited understanding of the mechanisms of the appearance of this sensation, until today, specialists had not so many methods to effectively eliminate the unpleasant symptom.
Neuroscientists are studying the nature of the origin of itching. Until recently, experts believed that in all cases, the sensation of itchy skin appears on an identical principle. However, after the discovery made by scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology (USA), it became clear that itchy sensations on the skin under the hairline and on bare areas have a different nature.
Any itchy sensation is the result of the activity of the nervous system, or more precisely, sensory nerves located on the skin. Before the discovery of American scientists, it was believed that regardless of the focus of itching, the same neurons are the cause of the sensation. However, now experts know for sure that different groups of nerve cells are responsible for the desire to scratch the skin under the hair and the “bare” areas on the soles of the feet and palms.
What does this withdrawal give
There are quite a few diseases for which itching is the main or one of the symptoms. In particular, this is dyshydrosis or pustulosis. The first is characterized by the appearance of small itchy blisters exclusively on the soles of the feet and palms. The second is a type of psoriasis, which is manifested by peeling and itchy skin on “bald” areas. Both diseases are very common in the world, but so far it has not always been possible to effectively eliminate an unpleasant symptom in patients. The reason is simple – the wrong neurons were affected to eliminate itching. The theory was confirmed by testing on mice conducted in the laboratory of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Scientists who have studied the nature of itching have identified a specific group of neurons, blocking and activating which, it turns out to control the sensation in areas of the skin not covered with hair (palms, soles of the feet).
According to scientists, this information opens up new opportunities for the scientific world and medicine. In particular, now that it is truly known which group of neurons is responsible for itchy sensations, it will be more effective to eliminate the unpleasant symptom accompanying some diseases, such as dyshydrosis, pustulosis or liver diseases.