Allergy and the Nervous System

Editor(s): Bienenstock J. (Hamilton, Ont.) 
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Itch and the Brain

Pfab F.a,b · Valet M.c · Napadow V.c · Tölle T.-R.c · Behrendt H.d · Ring J.b,d · Darsow U.b,c
aDepartment of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA; bDepartment of Dermatology and Allergy and cDepartment of Neurology, Klinikum r.d. Isar, Technische Universität München and dDivision of Environmental Dermatology and Allergy, Helmholtz Zentrum München/TUM, ZAUM-Center for Allergy and Environment, Munich, Germany Bienenstock J (ed): Allergy and the Nervous System.Chem Immunol Allergy. Basel, Karger, 2012, vol 98, pp 253–265 (DOI:10.1159/000336529)


The sensation of itch – defined as unpleasant sensation inducing the urge to scratch – is processed by a network of different brain regions contributing to the encoding of sensory, emotional, attention-dependent, cognitive-evaluative and motivational patterns. Patients with atopic eczema show different activation patterns and kinetics compared to healthy volunteers. This review summarizes current studies investigating itch in the brain.


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