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Scratching the Surface of the Itch

Scratching the Surface of the Itch Abstract LITTLE is known about itching. Editors know that "itching" is a much safer noun to use than "pruritus," a word misspelled by about half the medical profession and their amanuenses in the conviction that the ultimate syllable contains an inflammatory "i." People in general know that mosquito bites cause itching. So do, say the experimenters, histamine, kinins, certain proteolytic enzymes and cowage ("A tropical woody vine `mucuna pruriens' having crooked pods covered with barbed brittle hairs which cause intolerable itching. Also, these hairs, mixed with honey or other vehicle, used as vermifuge"). Although substances have been identified that do cause itching, the neurochemistry of the common spontaneous itch remains obscure. Similarly uncertain is the modality of the sensation. The conventional view, summarized as long ago as 1941, is that an itch is a nonpainful pain. In other words, itching is the result of weak stimulation of pain receptors. According to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Dermatology American Medical Association

Scratching the Surface of the Itch

Archives of Dermatology , Volume 99 (2) – Feb 1, 1969

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1969 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0003-987X
eISSN
1538-3652
DOI
10.1001/archderm.1969.01610200005001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract LITTLE is known about itching. Editors know that "itching" is a much safer noun to use than "pruritus," a word misspelled by about half the medical profession and their amanuenses in the conviction that the ultimate syllable contains an inflammatory "i." People in general know that mosquito bites cause itching. So do, say the experimenters, histamine, kinins, certain proteolytic enzymes and cowage ("A tropical woody vine `mucuna pruriens' having crooked pods covered with barbed brittle hairs which cause intolerable itching. Also, these hairs, mixed with honey or other vehicle, used as vermifuge"). Although substances have been identified that do cause itching, the neurochemistry of the common spontaneous itch remains obscure. Similarly uncertain is the modality of the sensation. The conventional view, summarized as long ago as 1941, is that an itch is a nonpainful pain. In other words, itching is the result of weak stimulation of pain receptors. According to

Journal

Archives of DermatologyAmerican Medical Association

Published: Feb 1, 1969

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