Wonder why scratching an itch feels so good?

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London, Feb 1 (UNI) Do you ever wonder why scratching an itch feels so good? Scratching an itch can block negative emotions, making one feel good, US researchers -- who used a hi-tech version of the MRI scanners to examine how scratching affects the brain -- claim.

Doctors from Wake Forest University in North Carolina repeatedly used a small brush to scratch the legs of 13 healthy volunteers, the Daily Mail reported today.

Scans showed that the parts of the brain linked to unpleasant thoughts and memories became much less active during the scratching.

The imaging studies also showed that some areas of the brain were made more active by the scratching, including the region associated with compulsive behaviour explaining why we sometimes cannot help but scratch and scratch.

The US research follows the British discovery last month of a rogue gene that causes itchy skin.

Understanding how the process works could lead to better treatments for severe itching, including eczema and diabetics and liver patients, who are often plagued by the urge to scratch.

UNI XC MS ND1710

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