Why Scratching Just Makes You Itchier

October 30, 2014 4:12 PM

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Why Scratching Just Makes You Itchier

You know that scratching at a mosquito bite only makes the itch worse, but why? Isn’t the whole point of a scratch to cancel out an itch? (Also, why is writing these sentences making me all itchy?) Some new research published today in the journal Neuron provides some answers.

First, here’s how the itch-and-scratch combo works: A scratch relieves an itch by producing a brief, small sensation of pain, which kind of distracts the brain from the itchiness. “The problem is that when the brain gets those pain signals, it responds by producing the neurotransmitter serotonin to ...

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