The journal Nature Neuroscience has recently witnessed the publication of a new study stating that, contrary to common held beliefs, itchiness is not just a form of pain.
Quite the contrary: certain nerve cells found within our bodies specialize in pinning down itchy sensations alone, and do not react when faced with pain stimuli. Because of this, scientists saw fit to refer to them as the “itch cells.”
Live Science explains that the discovery of these highly specialized nerve cells can ultimately help researchers develop better anti-itching medications that help relieve the need to scratch without desensitizing the human body when it comes to experiencing pain.
As Ethan Lerner, a neuroscientist presently working with the Harvard University puts it, “[Researchers] can perhaps target this particular type of nerve as a means of treating itch, but still allow you to experience the protective aspect of pain.”