Study looks at effect of emotions on pain and itch intensity

March 16, 2012
Study looks at effect of emotions on pain and itch intensity
Emotions influence the experience of somatosensory sensations of both pain and itch, with negative emotions eliciting higher levels of itch and pain compared to positive emotions, according to research published online March 8 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

(HealthDay) -- Emotions influence the experience of somatosensory sensations of both pain and itch, with negative emotions eliciting higher levels of itch and pain compared to positive emotions, according to research published online March 8 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Antoinette I.M. van Laarhoven, of Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues used viewing of film selections to induce negative and positive emotional states in 59 healthy women. Itch and pain were induced using somatosensory stimuli, including electrical stimulation, histamine iontophoresis, and the cold pressor test. The women reported levels of itch and pain on a visual analog scale.

The researchers found that scores for itch and pain evoked by histamine and the cold pressor test were significantly higher in women experiencing the negative rather than the positive emotional condition. Tolerance thresholds to and the cold pressor test and stimulus unpleasantness scores did not differ between the two conditions.

"These findings for the first time indicate that, in an experimental design, emotions play a role in sensitivity to somatosensory sensations of both itch and pain," the authors write.

Explore further: Research suggests why scratching is so relieving

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

Research suggests why scratching is so relieving

January 31, 2008

In the first study to use imaging technology to see what goes on in the brain when we scratch, researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have uncovered new clues about why scratching may be so relieving ...

Burning pain and itching governed by same nerve cells

November 4, 2010

We all know how hard it is not to scratch when we have an itch. But how can an itch be alleviated? In a new study published today in the prestigious journal Neuron, researchers at Uppsala University present the surprising ...

Pain and itch connected down deep

May 2, 2011

A new study of itch adds to growing evidence that the chemical signals that make us want to scratch are the same signals that make us wince in pain.

Body location plays part in scratching pleasure

January 27, 2012

An itch is just an itch. Or is it? New research from Gil Yosipovitch, M.D., Ph.D., professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and a world-renowned itch expert, shows that how good scratching an itch feels ...

Recommended for you

Team discovers how Zika virus causes fetal brain damage

August 24, 2016

Infection by the Zika virus diverts a key protein necessary for neural cell division in the developing human fetus, thereby causing the birth defect microcephaly, a team of Yale scientists reported Aug. 24 in the journal ...

Zika infection may affect adult brain cells

August 18, 2016

Concerns over the Zika virus have focused on pregnant women due to mounting evidence that it causes brain abnormalities in developing fetuses. However, new research in mice from scientists at The Rockefeller University and ...

Immune breakthrough: Unscratching poison ivy's rash

August 23, 2016

We all know that a brush with poison ivy leaves us with an itchy painful rash. Now, Monash University and Harvard researchers have discovered the molecular cause of this irritation. The finding brings us a step closer to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.