Study shows Botox injections can damage brain

The anti-wrinkle treatment Botox can spread from the face to the brain, researchers have claimed.

Study shows Botox injections can damage brain

The anti-wrinkle treatment Botox can spread from the face to the brain, researchers have claimed, British Daily Mail reported.

Botox – based on a natural poison – is used by millions of women every year in the quest for smoother skin.

But scientists who injected rats with the toxin said they observed traces of it in the rodents' brain stems three days later.

Tiny amounts of the drug are used for beauty treatments, but it is made from botulinum toxin – one of the world's deadliest natural poisons.

In the latest study, scientists injected the whisker muscles of rats with the toxin.

Within three days, they discovered traces of potentially deadly botulism in the rodents' brain stems.

The findings were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Although rats and humans have a different physiology and their responses may vary, scientists say the results should lead to more research.

The study's author, Matteo Caleo, of the Italian National Research Council's Institute of Neuroscience in Pisa, said the toxin also moved from one hippocampus, which controls long-term memory and spatial navigation, to the hippocampus on the other side of the rat's brain.

And he said the toxin was still present six months later.

"The idea that there could be some transmission of this to the central nervous system needs to be followed up," said Matthew Avram, director of Massachusetts General Hospital's Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetology Centre.

Botox was approved for commercial use in 1989 and boasted more than £600 million in worldwide sales last year.

It is derived from a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum – the same naturally-occurring toxin that causes botulism, a life-threatening food poisoning.

Botox injections work by weakening or paralysing muscles or blocking nerves to smooth out the skin.

The effects last about three to four months, but can cause side-effects such as headaches, an upset stomach or flu-like symptoms.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is already investigating whether patients contracted botulism from Botox and competitor Myobloc.

The government inquiry was launched following reports of deaths and breathing difficulties associated with the drugs.

Many of the most serious cases involved children who received injections of larger doses to treat arm and leg spasms linked to cerebral palsy, a use not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Allergan, the California-based company that makes Botox, said last night that the research was not conclusive and contradicted previous findings.

"The authors used a laboratory preparation of botulinum toxin and did not use Botox," said a spokesman.

"Data suggests that different preparations of botulinum toxin react differently in both the laboratory and in clinical practice."

Last Mod: 07 Nisan 2008, 11:30
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