Friday, April 18, 2008

If Looks Could Kill . . . The Botox Controversy

Earlier this month, the Journal Of Neuroscience published a study that raised many eyebrows, . . . without any Botox in the room. Ah, but Botox is very much at the center of this controversy.

Studies conducted by scientists in Italy discovered that Botox injected into the whisker muscles of rats migrated to their brain stems within three days and was still detected after a period of six months. The studies also revealed the toxin migrated from one hippocampus (long term memory and spatial navigation) to the hippocampus on the other side. Yet again confirming movement of the toxin.

Last month, the University of Calgary conducted a study on Botox injections in cats and found the toxin migrated to a surrounding area weakening all of the muscles, revealing that botulinum can pass through tissue to the surrounding muscle. The problem? The safety of Botox was underlined by the reported fact that it would stay put and not travel through tissue. The scientists, however, are quick to remind us that these lab animals have a different physiology than humans, but their findings have prompted more research.

In February of this year, the FDA decided to carry out a safety review and will reveal the results in due time. Allergan, the California company that makes Botox, was reported as saying, "The authors used a laboratory preparation of botulinum toxin and did not use Botox. Data suggests that different preparations of botulinum toxin react differently in both the laboratory and in clinical practice."

Our opinion? Clearly more testing is required before anyone hits the panic button on Botox. Depending on what report you read, a spread of 2.8 million (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) to 4.6 million (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) Botox procedures took place in 2007, at an average of $380+ per treatment, leaving vast numbers of people (and a whole lot of money) riding on the results of these new tests. Admittedly, we are not big supporters of injecting toxins of any kind into any part of your body, but having said that, we are supportive of everyone having the right to make decisions for themselves. Educated decisions. We can only report the facts and present it in a non-biased way so everyone will have the ability to read, research, and discover the truth as it applies to their own situations. We can state one thing for sure, . . . Botox injections should only be administered by medical professionals. Period.