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Ask Doctor Cory.

Dear Dr. Cory:

I'm a `want-to-know' kind of girl. What I want to know is, what causes an itch, and how does scratching help?

Tara Dyke Lubbock, Texas

Dear Tara:

Every part of your skin has nerve cells. These make it possible for you to feel sensations like heat and cold. Some feel only heat, some only cold, and others feel pain. Still others feel touch.

When your skin senses any of these, the nerve cells send messages to your brain, which tells you how to react--jerking back if you feel extreme heat, for example.

Not much is known about the sensation of itchiness. We know that when pain nerve cells are lightly stimulated, it sometimes causes you to feel an itch. If this feeling moves around, you feel it as a tickle.

Scratching creates a stronger sensation than the itching. So when you scratch, it overpowers the itchy feeling.

Sometimes just thinking about itching makes us itch, but we don't know why. Perhaps one day, we will know more about this curious feeling that we sometimes have.

Dear Dr. Cory:

What is a kidney transplant? If you had a kidney transplant could this affect you in the future?

Tamara Perkins Lawrenceville, Georgia

Dear Tamara:

Most people are born with two kidneys. A kidney transplant is when diseased or damaged kidneys are removed from a person's body and replaced by a healthy kidney. The healthy kidney can come from a live donor (DO-ner), or from a person who has very recently died.

The new kidney is attached to the new person's blood circulation and begins working to clean their blood.

After the operation, if the donor was a living person, he or she can resume a normal life, because you only need one working kidney to live. The recovery time is much more rapid than it used to be, because the process of removing the kidney is much simpler than in the past.

For the person who receives the new kidney, there is always the chance that their body will reject the new organ, since it recognizes it as coming from some other body. Drugs are available that keep this problem under control, in most cases. According to the National Kidney Foundation, about 87 percent of kidneys transplanted from donors who have recently died are still working well a year after surgery. The success rate for donors who are still alive is even better: 93 percent.

A person with a transplanted kidney also has to be aware of the increased risk of injury to the kidney that certain sports pose. Hockey, soccer, football, wrestling, and martial arts all might damage the new kidney. People who have only one kidney are usually told to avoid contact and collision sports.

Just What the Cr. Ordered

Dear Dr. Cory:

I looked at my sister's Jack and Jill magazine and saw that Emily Sorenson had asked about Tourette Syndrome. Well. I have it. I want to tell her that it was kind of eat to be curious about a classmate's problems!

Laura Schneider Sioux Falls

See you next issue!

Your friend,

Cory SerVaas, M.D.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Jack & Jill
Date:Mar 1, 2000
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