A Moment of Science

A Wrinkle Eraser, and More

We humans are vain. It’s true.

What other species watches its weight or worries about aging? Crows feet, worry lines, wrinkles, they’re all cause for alarm. However, we’re also ambitious and creative. We don’t just complain, we do what we can to stop nature in its tracks.

Take botox, for example, which is short for botulinum, a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis. Botox made its name as a vanity drug used to temporarily erase wrinkles. Worried that the little lines that appear when you smile make you look prematurely middle aged? A few quick Botox injections near the problem area to paralyze the wrinkle-causing muscles and voila! No more wrinkles until the injection wears off.

However, as doctors have discovered, botox is more than just a wrinkle eraser. It can also help treat more serious medical problems. For instance, botox can help cure a vocal chord disorder that corrupts speech with Donald Duck-like squeaks and squawks by paralyzing the muscles that cause the problem. Botox has also been found to help patients deal with migraine headache pain. Doctors think that muscle tension may play a role in causing migraines; botox might help by paralyzing particular muscles that are known to cause tension when they contract.

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