Kudos again to Yahoo! news for excellence in finding useless information. It appears that the National Institute of Health has funded a study on scratching and its effect on the portions of the brain. "They scratched 13 healthy people with a soft brush on the lower leg on and off in 30-second intervals for a total of five minutes."
The results: "'It's possible that scratching may suppress the emotional components of itch and bring about relief,' Yosipovitch said." Well, that's a load off now isn't it? I get pretty emotional about my itching. I like how he worded his results-scratching may supress itching. Researchers noted that "the study is limited because people were not scratching in response to an actual itch." I guess they can't just sit around waiting for people to get an itch. Maybe the subjects could watch The Seven Year Itch with some sensors on their heads or something so they can think about itching.
At the end of the article, almost as an aside (much like it is here), they let readers know how the study might actually be useful: "...understanding what goes on in the brain may lend clues about how to treat people tormented by chronic itch, including people with eczema and many ." If knowledge is power, I wonder what countries I can take over with this information.