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Botox – Injecting Poison Into the Body?

Filed March 13th, 2008 amy

Some people using Botox injections as an anti-wrinkle solution are beginning to wonder just how safe it is, especially in Canada, where a new study conducted at the University of Calgary (and published in the Journal of Biomechanics) found that the product is not as easy to control as previously thought.

The botulism toxin is deadly, causing muscles to paralyze and organs to shut down. But applied in small, carefully injected amounts, medical professionals have used it for years to relax muscles in stroke patients, migraine sufferers and others. In such cases, it’s been though that the benefits outweigh the small risk. But what about Botox for cosmetic purposes?

Botox was first licensed for cosmetic use in 2002; tiny amounts injected into the face block nerve signals and cause paralysis, relaxing the muscles and smoothing out wrinkles. It has been widely assumed that Botox stayed in the muscle and was therefore safe – but new research contradicts this.

The research was led by scientist Dr Walter Herzog, who received the American Society of Biomechanists’ highest honor for his work last year. He had been using botulinum as part of his study into osteoarthritis when he noticed that the toxin didn’t just affect the muscle in which it was injected. Experimenting on casino online cats, his team injected the toxin into a muscle at the back of the leg. Four weeks later, the time it takes for Botox to have its full effect, they measured the strength of this muscle, and that of a neighboring muscle.

In a recent article published in the UK’s Daily Mail, Herzog says, “What we found was that the toxin passed easily into the surrounding muscles and weakened all the muscles in the area. The results support other research that has already shown that botulinum can pass through muscle fascia (the packing tissue around muscles).” He adds, “While I see the benefits of it as a therapeutic tool, its applications in humans are increasing and it is important we understand more about this product, which is a toxin.”

This research comes amid investigations by the FDA into reports of children’s deaths, and severe side-effects for others treated for a variety of medical conditions with Botox and related products.

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