Itching really can be contagious scientists prove
Itching can be “caught” just by watching someone else having a good scratch, scientists have confirmed.
By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
It is a phenomenon that can leave entire rooms full of people scratching at the merest mention of fleas or lice. Now scientists have proven for the first time that itching really can be contagious.
In what is being called itch transmission, the researchers have shown that the sensation of an itch can be caught visually in the same way as yawning.
They found that simply watching a video of someone else scratching was enough to induce and intensify itching in volunteers.
Even when they were given a few drops of a liquid designed to induce itching on a patch of their skin, the volunteers tended to scratch more on random parts of their body.
Dermatologists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina believe itching becomes contagious because the brain becomes hypersensitive when someone nearby scratches and so misinterprets any kind of physical sensation on our skin as an itch.
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