Why do skin conditions like eczema cause itching?

5 min read

There is no comfort like the kind you get from scratching an itch, especially if you are suffering from eczema or dermatitis. It seems that you can only get the relief from the discomfort from scratching once the itch is scratched.

While scratching can temporarily alleviate irritation, excessive scratching can cause the skin to be damaged, leading to inflammation and further exacerbating the very irritation you are trying to relieve.

Scientists from Harvard Medical School have discovered that bacteria can cause itching by affecting nerve cells in the skin, according to a recent study published in the journal Cell.

It was reported by Axios that researchers have discovered a breakthrough approach to treating itching caused by skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.

According to a statement accompanying the study, the itch associated with atopic dermatitis and eczema is thought to arise from the inflammation of the skin that occurs as part of the underlying disease.

In the new study, however, it was found that Staph aureus is a common bacterium that ‘single-handedly causes itchiness’ by secreting an enzyme that either causes or intensifies scratching urges.

A study by the National Eczema Association suggests that 32.66 million Americans suffer from eczema on some level, with the prevalence peaking during the early years of childhood.

This research has been based on experiments performed on mice and human cells and one of the key findings was that mice’s itching was stopped when using an anticlotting drug which is already approved for use and blocks a protein called PAR1.

There is an entirely new mechanism behind the itch that we have pinpointed for the first time – the bacterium Staph aureus that is found on almost all of the patients with the chronic condition atopic dermatitis,” explained a Harvard Medical School associate professor of immunology, Isaac Chiu.

Our study shows that microbes themselves can cause itch in humans as well as other animals.

According to Stat News, one of the top scientists at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Brian Kim, said that from this study he believes it has drawn a good deal of attention, because it has shown a clear connection between itching and bacteria. Dr. Kim was not involved with this study, however.

Quite honestly, it makes you wonder what else we might have missed if we weren’t paying attention.

In the future, Harvard researchers are planning to delve further into the reasons behind the origin and evolution of itch-causing microbes in order to explore their role in triggering itch in other microbes.

Chiu explained that many microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, are associated with itching, but the exact mechanism for how they cause itching is unclear.

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