Botox Revolution Moves Beyond Wrinkles

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The Botox explosion. It’s not just for wrinkles anymore. Migraines, depression. We’ll track the spreading use of Botox.

A shop offers 'Botox to go' in Berlin, Germany. (Michael Sohn/AP)
A shop offers 'Botox to go' in Berlin, Germany. (Michael Sohn/AP)

I say Botox, and you no doubt think wrinkles – and a shot to get rid of them.  But there is a whole lot more under the Botox needle lately. Doctors are using Botox – on and off-label – to treat migraines, depression, overactive bladders, cold hands, crossed eyes, even sweaty armpits. It’s like the needle and its toxins are going everywhere. This hour On Point, the Botox explosion. Plus, we’ll look at winners, losers, wisdom and wisecracks at last night’s Golden Globes. — Tom Ashbrook


Alexandra Sifferlin, health writer at TIME Magazine. (@acsifferlin)

Ed Chapman, professor of neuroscience at the University of Madison-Wisconsin.

Dr. Timothy Collins, associate professor of neurology at Duke University Medical Center.

From Tom’s Reading List

TIME: Botox: The Drug That’s Treating Everything -- "Botox–the wrinkle smoother that exploded as a cultural phenomenon and medical triumph–is increasingly being drafted for problems that go far beyond the cosmetic. The depression suffered by Rosenthal’s patient is just one example on a list that includes everything from excessive sweating and neck spasms to leaky bladders, premature ejaculation, migraines, cold hands and even the dangerous cardiac condition of atrial fibrillation after heart surgery, among others. The range of conditions for which doctors are now using Botox is dizzying, reflecting the drug’s unique characteristics as much as the drug industry’s unique strategies for creating a blockbuster."

Cell Reports: Interneuronal Transfer and Distal Action of Tetanus Toxin and Botulinum Neurotoxins A and D in Central Neurons — "Recent reports suggest that botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) A, which is widely used clinically to inhibit neurotransmission, can spread within networks of neurons to have distal effects, but this remains controversial. Moreover, it is not known whether other members of this toxin family are transferred between neurons."

Newsweek: Botox Recognized As Top Neurological Treatment, Especially For Migraines -- "Most of the public knows of Botox as a quick fix for wrinkles, and a mainstay moneymaker in the world of cosmetic treatment. But botulinum toxin (BTX)—a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum—has also been used for several decades as an effective therapy for a number of chronic medical problems. In particular, regular injections are often helpful for treating certain central nervous system conditions related to involuntary muscle movement and pain.:

This program aired on January 9, 2017.


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