About a month ago I posted an off target entry called A Few Brain Stories. I would like to add one more to that list.
The Itch by Atul Gawande in The New Yorker
Summary – Nerves that cause itching are different than those that feel for pain. The brain gets the signal in and reacts to it. Itching is one of the few actions that the mind can trigger just be thinking about it. And therein lies the story. The brain uses the memory component to interpret the data that comes in through the sensory system (seeing, hearing, touch, smell, and taste). The information that goes to the brain isn’t useful on it’s own. As the story goes on to tell, when the brain can’t get proper closure, the remnant memories continue to portray a feeling that isn’t actually a reaction to any external stimulus, such as something causing an itch.
Scratch your curiosity itch.