Miller School Professor Co-Authors First Book Evaluating Both Itch and Pain

Some people experience both itch and pain, and now a new book addresses where they overlap, how they co-occur, and where the two conditions remain distinct.

To help clinicians manage both, and to assist researchers who want to learn more and collaborate – a multidisciplinary team of experts compiled a book entitled Itch and Pain: Similarities, Interactions, and Differences.

Dr. Gil Yosipovitch

“It makes sense to have a book that encompasses both conditions,” said author Gil Yosipovitch, M.D., Director of the Miami Itch Center at the University of Miami Miller School Of Medicine. “The book addresses clinical conditions where pain and itch can play a role, like inflammatory skin diseases, neuropathy, and systemic disease.” The authors also address neuroimmune reactions, neural sensitization processes, pharmacologic treatments, and new potential therapies.

The book also features unique presentations that have rarely been published before like ocular itch and pain, itch and pain post burns and itch and pain in geriatric populations, and more.

“The book contains updated information on what is going on in both fields, and in particular how we can learn from the pain field to better understand itch,” said Dr. Yosipovitch, who is also a professor in the Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the Miller School.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) published the 432-page paperback book in June. “The unique part is there has not been an effort like this from the pain community before,” Dr. Yosipovitch said.

The expertise in the book includes dermatology and pain and itch neuroscience. Co-authors include Lars Arendt-Nielsen, Dr. Med, Ph.D., President of the IASP and Professor, Department of Health Science and Technology, School of Medicine at Aalborg University in Denmark, and Hjalte Holm Andersen, who is on the Faculty of Medicine at Aalborg University and who trained as a Fellow at UM. “The book was an opportunity to do something unique because of this combined expertise,” Dr. Yosipovitch said.

The book also features a strong psychology component. Most major pain management centers include psychologists as part of a holistic approach to treating pain. Although the psychology of itch is less well known, this book could help change that, Dr. Yosipovitch said. “The psychology of pain is very advanced whereas itch has very limited experts in that field.”

Each chapter addresses a component of itch and pain, an extensive discussion on, basic science, pathways, mechanisms, receptors, genetics, animal models, peripheral skin mechanisms, and central pathways in the spine and the brain as well as clinical diseases that involve peripheral pain and itch.

The intended audience includes IASP members, people interested in itch, clinicians dealing with itch and pain – including dermatologists, pain experts, neurologists, nephrologists, hepatologists and psychologists, and anyone interested in the pharmacology of treating these two conditions.

Visit the IASP website for more information on Itch and Pain – Similarities, Interactions, and Differences.