Photo: wine me up (flickr)
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.
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.
- Center for the Study of Itch opens (Washington University in St.Louis)