Botox jabs to smooth wrinkled foreheads can lift depression and even control dangerous mood swings, a new study in Germany has revealed.
The neurotoxin botulinum toxin (BTX) – commonly known as Botox – has been used as a remedy for wrinkles ever since it was first introduced on the market in 1989.
But scientists from the Hannover Medical School (MHH) have discovered that the injectable wrinkle muscle relaxer can also alleviate depression.
The substance reportedly also aids in a decrease in negative emotions and extreme mood swings found in borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Researchers say this happens because the substance influences the so-called amygdala or almond nucleus in the temporal lobe of the brain, where fears arise and are processed.
Senior physician and research group leader at the Clinic for Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at MHH Professor Dr Tillmann Kruger said: “A relaxed forehead conveys a more positive feeling, so to speak.”
Kruger reported that negative moods are expressed on the face in the lower middle forehead area in the so-called glabellar region.
When a person is angry two different types of muscles contract and cause frown or worry lines to appear above the root of the nose according to the scientist.
But if Botox is injected into the forehead it paralyses the muscles between the eyebrows and reduces the intensity of emotions because the facial expressions and the psychological state are closely connected.
Kruger added: “The treatment has several advantages at once: Since the paralysing effect lasts for three or more months, an injection also only needs to be given at these intervals.
“The infrequent injections are also less costly than some other therapy options and have a very good tolerance and acceptance among patients.”
In addition, MRI images of borderline patients who had been treated with a botulinum toxin injection showed significantly reduced symptoms just four weeks later.
A comparison group treated with acupuncture also exhibited improved clinical symptoms but not the neuronal effects in the MRI examination.
Kruger explained: “We were able to see that botulinum toxin curbs the emotional constant fire in the tonsil nucleus, which accompanies the high-grade inner tension of the affected persons.”
Botox treatment for mental disorders has not been included in the services provided by health insurance companies.
Kruger and his team hope this will change as research on the subject piles up.
The study was published in the world’s leading multidisciplinary science journal Nature on Saturday, 20th August 2022.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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