Botox may travel to the brain & change it too!

There is some scary news for those who turn to Botox as a quick fix to get rid of their forehead wrinkles or crow’s feet. Botox, as we know, is one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances in the world.

It is derived from a toxin produced by the bacteria which causes botulism, a lethal food poisoning.

Pic Credits: Flickr photos

Though it is highly toxic, when injected in minute doses, it freezes the muscles to stop them from contracting, thereby smoothing out the wrinkles.

The injections take around 20 minutes and feel like little insect bites with tiny yellow bruises afterwards and one must not lie down for three to four hours afterwards.

However, one treatment will keep a forehead line-free for 3-4 months but can cause side-effects such as headaches, an upset stomach or flu-like symptoms. Even women in their late twenties are getting hooked.

woman injected with botox on her forehead

Botox can travel to the brain even if you injected it on your facial muscles.

In a latest study, Italian 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 study’s author also said that the toxin also moved from one hippocampus, which controls long-term memory, navigation and eye-head coordination , to the hippocampus on the other side of the rat's brain. 

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

Botox travels to Central Nervous System Too?

Researchers at The University of Queensland have additionally found that Botox is also transported via our nerves back to the central nervous system.

"The discovery that some of the injected toxin can travel through our nerves is worrying, considering the extreme potency of the toxin," says UQ Queensland Brain Institute laboratory leader Professor Frederic Meunier. However, to this day no unwanted effect attributed to such transport has been reported, he adds.

woman taking a botox injection on lips

Botox can change your brain. Really?

Another research has revealed an unintentional and rather alarming consequence: Botox injections in the forehead and face rearrange the brain’s sensory map of the hands.

The limited paralysis caused by Botox deprives the brain of sensory inputs normally generated by forehead and facial movement.

Even more unexpected is that both hands suffer a loss of cortical brain activity following a relatively small loss of facial movements.

The changes in brain remapping are dose-dependent: the more you use, the bigger the effect.

Initial studies did not investigate whether cortical remapping was limited only to the hands, or whether other body parts were also affected.

Later studies showed more widespread effects and unintended consequences within the nervous system.

Points To Ponder

So those who want to eliminate that offending frown or the fine lines, better think twice before going in for a Botox treatment. Is it really worth it to trade youthful looks for health risks, especially when it concerns your brain and central nervous system? Think about it and do share your views in the comments.

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