From itching to attributes for health and wealth, Thérèse Henkin looks at recent research findings.
Starting from scratch
Scientists have discovered why we start feeling itchy when the person next to us is scratching. A recent study found that when we see someone scratching, the brain releases a chemical substance called GRP (gastrin-releasing peptide). GRP is a key chemical transmitter of itch signals between the spinal cord and the skin. The study, which was conducted on mice, showed that when a mouse saw another scratching, GRP was released and they started scratching as well. When GRP was blocked, the mice didn’t have the scratch response. The lead researcher says mimicking socially contagious behaviour such as scratching and yawning is not a choice or psychological response but rather it is hardwired into the brain.
“A new Swedish study shows that mindfulness group therapy may be just as effective as individual cognitive behavioural therapy for the treatment of a wide range of psychiatric symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.”