2/24: Aaron, Kristen F., Kimberly
3/10: Kristen G., Dahlia
4/7: Gordon, Emily M.
4/21: Eleanor, Aidan, Nicole, Rebecca
5/5: Emma, Natalie, Viviana
That's scary, the thought that people can scratch down into their brains and bodies, and can even paralyze or kill themselves...I wonder how itching has impacted people's lives throughout history? It's common knowledge that lice and other parasites were far more widespread among the human populace in preceding centuries--has there been evidence of "the Itch", then as now, driving people seemingly insane? Did people destroy themselves as a result of this sort of thing? In the past, did the brain trick people into "phantom" experiences more or less often, or the same?
I wonder about M.'s ability to temporarily relieve the itch by scratching despite the fact that she was numb in the irritated region of her scalp. Was it some how just the knowledge of having addressed the problem that momentarily eased the 'sensation?'
I had read this article before, but it was just as amazing and thorough the second time. To me it really seems to raise questions about what we mean when we talk about a feeling/sensation. When we talk about an itch, are we talking about a stimulus, a nerve response, a pattern of activity in the brain, or something more experiential?
The story of M is truly terrifying. I can't imagine how she found the will to live despite her condition. How is it possible that she could feel itchy in a place that no longer had any any nerve endings!
It's interesting that a lot of the patients in the article had shingles before their itching started. They didn't really go into the connection, but I suppose it just made the area numb. Why would this make it more vulnerable to a phantom itch?
this article is definitely nuts to read. I love the analogy of the malfunctioning sensor and think it goes a long way to explain what is otherwise an extremely complex idea to integrate. What it says about how our brain works and how very real symptoms are generated despite a lack of problem is pretty fascinating. I wish that the article had continued so we could find out how the M situation was resolved. I also wonder about the eventual application of this new found knowledge. I am a big fan of a show on discovery health called "mystery diagnosis" wherein patients suffering from intense and terrifying symptoms for years are consistently told that they are likely dealing with psychological issues as nothing can be found legitimately wrong with them. Then, finally, after years, sometimes decades they are accurately diagnosed and often cured. I wonder whether this sort of revelation will prove as frustrating to some such patients with deseases that are difficult to diagnose as it appears to be miraculously helpful to those experiencing the sort of problems described in this article. Does that make sense at all?
This article really covered all the questions I might have had... but I'm curious to see the science you'll go into in your presentation. The author kept saying that scientists were leaning towards the idea that the itch originates in the brain, rather than the idea that it receives signals from the rest of the body. Did you find out where in the brain they think its coming from? What other conditions is this area related to?