11 March 2014
The botulinum toxin ( known as Botox or Dysport ) , produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria is a “neurotoxin”, ie it is a “ poison “ to nerve endings.
The toxin attaches itself to the neuromuscular endplate (the connecting point of the nerve fibre to muscle fibre) and paralyzes the muscle by not leaving space for Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter from nerve fibres, to attach itself to the endplate, which is how normal muscle contraction occurs.
Even in small doses, this toxin is a killer, but in extremely small doses, partial muscle paralysis is achieved, thus weakening the action of the muscle.
This beneficial effect was first made use of to reduce severe eyelid spasm ( blepharospasm) and squinting (strabismus).
Botox is also used to reduce spasm or muscle over activity in a number of other areas, including in the neck, the limbs, the bladder, the prostate and in sweat glands in the armpits, palms and the sole of foot.
The major use of Botox nowadays is for its cosmetic effects on the face.
Migraine headaches affect a large number of people each year, causing great distress to those affected and at great cost due to time lost from normal activities including work.
It used to be thought that it was a vascular headache, due to spasm of our arteries in the affected areas.
The pioneering work of Prof Bahaman Guyuron of the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland has shed new light on this.
From observations made on patients having Botox for cosmetic reasons, he worked out that migraine was caused by muscle spasm squeezing nerves, which then released chemicals which caused migraine. While Botox gives significant relief to migraine sufferers, Prof Gayuron has gone further, identifying the muscles and nerves causing migraine and has now established a very effective, near permanent surgical cure for migraine.
Vaginismus is a condition in which a woman is unable to tolerate vaginal penetration of any sort, including the insertion of tampons, vaginal examination and penetration, including intercourse.
While the causes are unclear, the effect is due to vaginal spasm, ranging from mild to severe.
Pioneering work done by Dr. Peter Pacik, a plastic surgeon in Manchester, New Haven, has shown that the use of Botox injections under anesthesia to break the spasm cycle and followed up by the vaginal dialectician and continuing with the use of specially designed by the vaginal dilators has restored many women to normalcy and allowing them to have a normal sex life.
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