This is a subject very important to me right now. I recently spend some time in a rainy part of Maine, and came back with at least two dozen mosquito bites. They’re finally starting to ease up a little, but I’ve lost a lot of sleep from waking up scratching myself.
I found this article on Slashdot: Neuron Path Discovery May Change Our Conception of Itching. It turns out that itching isn’t really just another form of mild pain. There are separate circuits of nerve cells to convey itchiness and pain, and their studies suggest that itch and pain signals are transmitted along different pathways in the spinal cord.