Smoking: New research helps itch to quit

September 13, 2009

European scientists said Sunday they could explain why nicotine patches designed to help smokers kick their habit can cause skin irritation.

Nicotine activates a so-called ion channel in skin cells that unleashes an inflammatory response by the , leading to itching, they reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Previously, the irritation had been blamed on stimulation of special receptors on nerve cells, causing pain signals to be sent to the brain.

The investigation, carried out on that had been genetically modified to lack the TRPA-1 ion channel, was led by Karel Talavera of the Leuven Catholic University, near Brussels.

The discovery could pave the way to smoking therapies with fewer side effects, the authors say.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Smokers hopeful new drug breaks habit

Related Stories

Two Nicotine Addiction Puzzles Explained

August 2, 2007

The stranglehold of nicotine addiction leads to more than four million smoking-related deaths each year. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have now explained two roots of that addiction. The discoveries ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.