Are you finding yourself itching your legs all too often? You’re already slathering on that lotion, but it doesn’t seem to help?
Surprisingly, the same nerve cells that tell your brain that it’s time to itch also tell your brain that your body is experiencing burning pains.
Klas Kullander, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Uppsala University examined how the nerve cells that alert the brain of heat pain affect mice. He concluded that when the nerve cells lost the ability to signal, the mice reacted less to heat and began to constantly itch.
According to Professor Kullander, these results connect the pain from a burn to monitoring sensitivity to itching; an important finding when itching is often overlooked.
Extreme itching is common after an operation or burn. Disorders such as eczema also lead to uncomfortable itching. With the knowledge leading from this study, new forms of treatment have a better chance of being developed. Professor Kullander and his coworkers hope to be able to develop techniques which will allow them to be able to stop the itch at its source.
According to researchers from the Centre de Neuroscience Cognitive (Cognitive Neuroscience Center) in Lyon, France, the orbitofrontal cortex, which is located in the anterior ventral part of the brain, is comprised of distinct regions that respond to rewards like money and chocolate.
Every day we must make reward choices. In order to do so, we have to compare their value on a single scale, which hints that all rewards are assessed in the same area. However, at the same time it is possible that different rewards activate different brain areas, depending on the characteristics of the reward.
To study the brain areas associated with rewards, scientists conducted a game as an experiment. Participants were rewarded with money and their cerebral activity was measured with an FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scanner.
The experiment concluded that reward association is shared between the cerebral regions known as the ventral striatum, insula, mesencephalon and the anterior cingulated cortex. Scientists also found that there is dissociation between primary and secondary awards, which supports the hypothesis of different brain areas responding to various gratifications.