Miller School professor and multidisciplinary co-authors offer guide to patient dilemmas
By Damian McNamara
Illustration by Hanoch Piven
ome people experience both itch and pain. A new book addresses where they overlap, how they co-occur, and when the two conditions remain distinct.
To help clinicians manage the two conditions and assist researchers who want to learn more and collaborate, an international, multidisciplinary team of experts has compiled a book, Itch and Pain: Similarities, Interactions, and Differences.
“It makes sense to have a book that encompasses both conditions,” said author Gil Yosipovitch, M.D., professor in the Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery and 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, such as inflammatory skin diseases, neuropathy, and systemic disease.”
The authors also address neuroimmune reactions, neural sensitization processes, pharmacologic treatments, and new potential therapies.
Additionally, the book features presentations that have rarely been published, such as ocular itch and pain, post-burn itch and pain, and itch and pain in geriatric populations.
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) published the 432-page paperback book in June.
Shared knowledge from two fields
“The book contains updated information on what is going on in both fields and, in particular, what we can learn from the pain field to better understand itch,” Dr. Yosipovitch said. “There hasn’t been an effort like this from the pain community before.”
The authors of the book are from the fields of dermatology, pain, and itch neuroscience. Co-authors include Lars Arendt-Nielsen, Dr.Med., Ph.D., president of IASP, and Hjalte Holm Andersen, Ph.D., both of whom are on the faculty of the Department of Health Science and Technology at the Aalborg University School of Medicine in Denmark. Dr. Andersen 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, the authors believe this book could help change that.
“The psychology of pain is very advanced, whereas itch has very limited expertise in that field,” Dr. Yosipovitch said.