You Scratch Your Itch, I’ll Scratch Mine


Researchers in the U.K. find that watching someone scratch himself can activation the same neural regions associated with the physical perception of an itch. The authors speculate that “habitual activation of this central “itch matrix” may give rise to psychogenic itch disorders.” Results appeared online yesterday in Proceedings of the National Association of Science.

Abstract → Note from Kermit Cole, “In the News” editor:
This article simply reminded me of some of the reasons that the experience of encountering another’s pain, whether physical or psychological, is both a challenge and an opportunity, as well as central to the full experience of being human.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].