U Research Sheds Light on Itching and Scratching

A team of University researchers, which includes School of Dentistry scientists Don Simone and Sergey Khasabov, announced findings that shed light on the biological mystery of the ‘itch’ sensation.

A study by principle investigator Glenn Giesler, Jr. (Medical School), which appears in the current issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, found that the itch sensation is relieved by scratching, which essentially ‘shuts off’ nerve cells in the spinal cord. The article was co-authored by Steve Davidson (Graduate Program in Neuroscience), Xijing Zhang (Neuroscience) and dental school researchers Sergey Khasabov and Don Simone (Diagnostic and Biological Sciences).

Media coverage of the research report was extensive, and included articles in the New York Times, the BBC, Reuters, and in numerous news outlets around the world. Chronic itch is associated with anxiety, kidney and liver disease, cancers, diseases of the blood and skin, and is an unpleasant side effect of some powerful painkillers.

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  • Last modified on July 30, 2012