Botox- are you a man or a mouse?


Oh Boy, Botox makes me JUMP for joy!

Oh Boy, Botox makes me JUMP for joy!

 A controversial study raises the concern that the popular anti-wrinkle treatment Botox may travel from its injection site into the brain.  For the study, published in April 2008 in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers injected botulinum toxin--the active ingredient in Botox- into the whisker muscles of rats.  Researchers then looked at the connected brain areas for signs of the toxin.  Within three days of the injection, they found remnants of a protein broken down by the toxin in an area of the brainstem.  The toxin also moved from one hippocampus, which controls long-term memory and spatial navigation, to the hippocampus on the oppossite side of the brain, and from the superior colliculus, the part of the brain associated with eye-head coordination, back to the eye.  The study found that brain cell activity was disrupted both where botulinum neurotoxin was injected and in some of the distant-but-connected sites. 

But, the dose injected into the rat's whisker pad was about 150-fold higher than the dose typically used for facial twitching.  The Italian scientists also injected the neurotoxin into the hippocampus and the superior colliculus, the brain region that receives signals from the eye.

Joseph Jankovic, MD, professor of neurology and director of the Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders clinic at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas conducted the first double blind, placebo-controlled study of botulinum neurotoxin A in the early 1980's.  Dr. Jankovic  said that he has treated thousands of patients with botulinum toxin and has never observed side effects related to adverse activity of Botox in the brain or spinal cord.  He added that no such CNS effects have been described, even in patients injected therapeutically or inadvertently with very high doses of botulinum toxin.

Dr. Jankovic said that Botox is safe when used appropriately and by trained physicians.  First approved by the FDA in 1989 for blepharospasm, further studies on strabismus, facial spasm, cervical dystonia, hyperhidrosis, and cosmetic indications subsequently led to the federal green light.  A list of reported side effects for each of these conditions is provided on the FDA website and on the labeling.

But, Dr. Jankovic said that toxic spread into the brain would have resulted in cognitive, spinal, and other neurological problems that have not been documented in any of the millions of patients treated with Botox worldwide and thousands of articles published on its clinical use.

So, what to make of all of this data?  The bottom line is that Botox can be found in the brains of rats, when it is INJECTED into the brains of rats--DUH!  So, despite popular belief, it IS possible to have both Beauty and Brains!

To see my interview with Fox 5 News NYC on this very topic, go to my official website and click on the news section!

Have a Beautiful Day!

Dr. Lisa

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