A Moment of Science

When The Itch Won’t Stop

Ever feel like you get one itch, and then another, and another, until you feel like you can't stop itching? You could have the itching gene.

Woman Itching Her Arm

Photo: wine me up (flickr)

Some people are allergic which is caused by a reaction, but there are some people who actually have an itching gene.

Ever feel like you get one itch, and then another, and another, until you feel like you can’t stop itching?

You could have the itching gene.

Scratch Scratch Scratch

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine discovered a gene in mice associated with itching. Mice with the gene scratch a lot when they experience something itchy, and mice engineered not to have the gene don’t scratch nearly as much.

For people with diseases like psoriasis and eczema, itching isn’t just a minor, occasional inconvenience, it’s a chronic, potentially life-disrupting problem. For these individuals, finding an itching gene is important. If we know there’s a gene that’s involved with itching, we may be able to find ways to shut it down in people with serious itching diseases.

Future Research

Keep in mind that so far the gene has only been detected in mice and the researchers haven’t yet figured out how to turn it off, or if that would even stop the pitching sensation completely.

In theory at least, someone could develop a drug that would somehow block the gene. Which could cut down and maybe even cut out itching.

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  • *Lainy Samuels*

    I would be a scratched up bloody mess if I had this gene…I rake at every little itch I have.

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