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Ankles beat back as 'most pleasurable place to scratch'

London, Mon, 23 Jan 2012 ANI

London, Jan 23 (ANI): You would like to scratch your ankle while reading this news.


Scientists say itchy ankles have overtaken hard-to- reach areas of the back as the most pleasurable place to scratch.


In the first scientific study of the sensation, researchers found that enjoyment from scratching the ankle stays after the initial irritation has subsided, the Daily Express reported.


Researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in north Carolina made healthy volunteers aged between 22 and 59 itch by rubbing their ankles, backs and forearms with cowhage, a plant with tiny hairs that irritate the skin.


Then for the following five minutes participants were asked to record how itchy each spot felt.


After scratching by researchers, participants awarded marks out of 10 for how pleasurable the sensation had been.


The ankle was both the itchiest and the most pleasurable to scratch, with the forearm the least irritated.


"The results shocked us. We thought the back would give the most pleasure but the ankle popped up as the leader," said Professor Francis McGlone, of the International Forum for the Study of Itch, co- author of the study.


"What fascinates me is why the itch is so pleasurable. Anything that is rewarding must have some evolutionary principle behind it," he stated.


Scientists believe the ankle has evolved as an itch-prone area because it comes into contact with insects and germs, which can be removed through scratching.


The study was published in the British Journal of Dermatology. (ANI)


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