the surprising effects of botox

While the best-known use of Botox is in cosmetic surgery, this toxin is actually used in the treatment of many problems that go far beyond facial wrinkles. And according to recent research, she might even have an interest in treating one of the ailments of the 21st century: depression.

Botox and depression: a link already suspected

The idea that Botox, a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinium, can be used to treat depression is not new. Specialists assumed that the use of Botox in cosmetic surgery to modify facial features had a beneficial effect on the “feedback loop” between the face and emotions. The principle is simple: the face of a depressed person will tend to be perceived as negative (sad, bitter, tired …), which increases the depression of the person in question, who will therefore have an even more negative face … and so right now. By making the face more positive, this loop could be broken.

This is of course not the silver bullet for depression, which affects more than 280 million people worldwide: psychological, psychiatric and, in some cases, drug treatment are necessary. But that feedback loop would have a role, and breaking it could be part of the processing.

Botox could act on the brain

Botox is already being used to fight migraine – © Dr. Braun from Vancouver, Canada

However, according to the study published on July 30, 2020 in the journal Nature, researchers went further: they wanted to study the impact of a Botox treatment on depression, regardless of where it is injected. Because Botox is also used for problems of excessive sweating, excessive salivation, spasms, migraines or the urinary tract, among others.

The researchers therefore analyzed a cohort of 45,000 reports, separating patients according to their condition, then into two groups: those who received Botox as a treatment, and those who were treated differently. Patients who have received Botox treatment are between 40% and 88% less, depending on the group, to have developed depression.

The result, which needs to be confirmed and better analyzed, could be linked to an impact of Botox on the brain: during injections, part of the toxin would end up in the blood and act on certain parts of the brain. But for Ruben Abagyan, author of the study and professor at the University of California, the most interesting in this research is to have discovered that Botox would act on depression regardless of where it is injected, and not only in the face, a treatment which may be refused by some patients.

Banner illustration: Botox to treat depression – © hikrcn

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After his Masters in Philosophy, Paolo Garoscio turned to communication and journalism. He joined the ÉconomieMatin team in 2013.

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