“The itch sensation is a perception”, Dr. Zhou-Feng Chen
The most exciting research regarding itching comes from professor Dr. Zhou-Feng Chen, and his colleagues at the Washington University School of Medicine Pain Center. He is Director, Center for the Study of Itch. To quote from his biography : “Ongoing research program is centered on signalling and synaptic mechanisms of itch transmission from skin to the brain and crosstalk between itch and pain”. While it appears that the team has focussed primarily on mice, the avenue is hopeful for those of us with chronic pain and itching. His work is groundbreaking. It would seem that not only is pain in the brain but so it is with itching.
I have now written 123 blogs on this site about almost every topic I can think regarding fibromyalgia. What has surprised me is the popularity of the 2009 one on itching! Every day the itching site is replete with many searches and comments on that blog. The agony that many suffer from chronic itching has continued to surprise me beyond anything I have read or researched about fibromyalgia. In fact, a person I met recently who has lectured frequently about fibromyalgia had not even mentioned itching on her immense list of symptoms. So, the question on my mind these days is : what can be done to educate the readers about chronic itching, apparently the most aggravating of all challenges of fibromyalgia? What can be said about that which is often called ‘phantom itching’? How can I possibly present information regarding a condition I know so little about? Bear with me folks, I am embarking on a journey attempting to break down the scientific jargon into a more comprehensive language after I have struggled through it myself. The stories and challenges of those of you suffering from chronic itch are heart breaking. I hope I can do you justice.