Can’t Stop Itching?
You’re not the only one. New research shows that seven percent of adults in the U.S. and as many as 20 percent of people in developed countries are dealing with some form of dermatitis, a common skin condition that causes itching. Unfortunately, effective treatment isn’t available for most patients according to Liang Han, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Biological Sciences. She and her team have focused their investigation on how to address itching on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, a common complaint in dermatology. Consider: in the U.S., there are an estimated 200,000 cases a year of dyshidrosis, a skin condition that causes itchy blisters to develop on the palm and soles. In addition, a variant of psoriasis can cause inflamed scaly skin and intense itch on the palm and soles. The Georgia investigators say this affects 1.6 million people in the U.S. each year. Dr. Han and her team have recently discovered differences in itch based on the presence or absence of hair follicles, a development that has opened new areas for research and, they hope, more effective treatments of patients suffering from persistent itching.
Liang Han et al “MrgprC11 sensory neurons mediate glabrous skin itch.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021; 118 (15): e2022874118 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2022874118
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