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February 1957

Itch Sensation and Recovery of Sensation in Spinal Cord Injuries

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, and the Neurology Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, Hines, Ill.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;77(2):156-158. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330320054006

The correlation of itch and other sensations, such as touch and types of pain, has been a matter of controversy for years and has not been settled conclusively.

The purpose of the present work was to correlate the perception of itch in areas of the skin where varied sensory recovery had occurred in spinal cord injuries. This opportunity presented itself on the wards of patients with spinal cord injuries at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Hines, Ill.

Bishop3 described itch as having the following characteristics: It is elicited from pain rather than from touch areas. It follows as the after-effect of prick, which is itself a mild form of pain. Its effective stimulus is one which persists at one spot rather than requiring movement-like tickle. Itch, like prick or pain, may follow summation of rapidly repeated stimuli, any one of which may be relatively ineffective. Itch does not show adaptation,