Jump to content
Science Forums

Wound healing and itch


Recommended Posts

Though it may be purely coincidental, scratching due to itching could help get rid of the layer of dead - and, in some cases, infectious - cells.

 

Yeah, I thought of that but ruled it out as being advantageous because it can also introduce new infections. In this case, it's evolutionarily neutral, but there might be something else I'm overlooking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A very good question, indeed!

 

Also, keep in mind, that during 99% of our tenure here on planet Earth, hygiene was in such a state that our nails were considerably more dirty and cracked with sharp edges than it is today. A perfect place for cooties to grow! Which isn't exactly the best tool to scratch a semi-healed wound with.

 

That being said, would you say there's some sort of a connection between chewing your nails (a particularly nasty habit, but one which is evident accross all cultures) and wound-scratching?

 

Can it be that nail-chewing isn't the manifestation of psychological insecurities we see it as today, but merely a throwback to that 99% of human existence in which nail clippers didn't exist - in order not to kill ourselves scratching itchy wounds?

 

Maybe we're wired to chew nails...

 

Interesting. Very, very interesting...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pain mostly serves a protective function. For example, if we sprain our ankle, the pain we feel is almost immediate. It tells us that we have done damage to our body, and it deters us from putting more weight onto the ankle. This minimises further damage, thus protecting the body.

Itching is a built-in defense mechanism that alerts your body to the potential of being harmed. In this case, it might be the potential of being bit by a bug. As soon as we feel an itch, our first natural response is to scratch the spot of the itch with our fingernails. The reason for this response is simple — we want to remove the irritant as soon as possible

Itch was long considered to be a mild form of pain describe, but came to be recognized as a distinct sensation,

I mean something during the course of evolution had happened that has made this itch to exist,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dogs' licking their recovering (and presumably itching) body parts seems to promote healing. We are rather Johny-comes-lately primates who are more adept at using our fingers than bending down to lick whatever itches (imagine licking some of the parts your dog habitually licks in a meeting or rush hour traffic). As a result, we may represent an evolutionary offshoot that is less equipped to deal with the itching response in the natural way, and had to come up with antibiotics and antiseptics instead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dogs' licking their recovering (and presumably itching) body parts seems to promote healing. We are rather Johny-comes-lately primates who are more adept at using our fingers than bending down to lick whatever itches (imagine licking some of the parts your dog habitually licks in a meeting or rush hour traffic). As a result, we may represent an evolutionary offshoot that is less equipped to deal with the itching response in the natural way, and had to come up with antibiotics and antiseptics instead.

 

Hmmm..... Imagine in a meeting or while walking to the store, oh yes!!! Actually if you think about it if humans could do that we probably would with no more shame that our dogs do. If we could we would and it wouldn't be such horrible thing to us. But i do think the idea of this being an impetus to use plant (antibiotics, medicine) material to heal is interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My guess would be parasitic insects. Ticks and other kinds of blood suckers. How else is an animal going to remove such things but to scratch? Seems like a normal evolutionary development to me. Think about what an elephant has to go through to keep that stuff off its skin - rubbing its back end up on everything. The wound relation is most likely a side effect. Pain would prevent an animal from scratching a very bad wound - in which case licking does seem to be the preferred thing to do.

 

~modest

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dogs' licking their recovering (and presumably itching) body parts seems to promote healing. We are rather Johny-comes-lately primates who are more adept at using our fingers than bending down to lick whatever itches (imagine licking some of the parts your dog habitually licks in a meeting or rush hour traffic). As a result, we may represent an evolutionary offshoot that is less equipped to deal with the itching response in the natural way, and had to come up with antibiotics and antiseptics instead.

 

A logical reply indeed,

licking of injury by dogs really seems to be healing procees and also it is a protective process too, as the saliva contains some of the enzymes that inhibits the growth of micro organisms (such as bacteria and viruses) on the exposed injured parts which are more prone to the attack of the infectious microbes. Licking provides constant and regular cover of enzymes over the injured part,perhaps these enzymes (like lysozyme) inhibits the cross linkages of NAM and NAG with the amino sugars in the bacteria and thus inhibiting the synthesis of their cell wall, thereby reducing the chances of their survival on the wound.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pain is useful because it constantly reminds the mind to protect the injured part from getting further injury, also it makes us not to over stress the injured parts which might slow down the healing process, so during the course of evolution sensation of pain developed as a protective mechanism. But this sensation of pain reduces as wound is on the final stage of healing, but at this stage the sensation of pain transforms into the sensation of itch (due to growth of underlying tissues and nerves). To get rid off from itch we start scratching. A scratch due to constant friction causes the local increase in temperature of that area, due to increase in temperature blood circulation to that area increases in order to lower back the temperature.

With increase in temperature various cells and molecules of immune system reaches the injured site and protects the area from the attack of the infectious micro organisms. This is the protective aspect of itching which has developed in the course of evolution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...