Solved! The Mystery of the Maddening Itch

May 23, 2013 6:04 PM

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OK, so it doesn’t quite rank up there with unraveling the cause of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. But with mosquito and poison-ivy season on the way, plenty of folks would be grateful for an answer to a more mundane question: what is the neurological basis of the pruritic response? Or in plain English, why do we itch?

At least part of that mystery has now been solved by scientists at one of the less celebrated units of the National Institutes of Health. Writing in Science, molecular biologists working at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research report that a molecule known as neuropeptide natriu...

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