Understanding how botox works

Dr Meg Minasian, co-founder of The MW Clinic London, shares her view on the latest medical research reported in The New Scientist:

"Botulinum toxin has a number of highly positive therapeutic indications.

It’s first medical use in ophthalmology for the non-surgical treatment of squints nearly fifty years ago, provided treatment options for many patients who were no longer candidates for surgery due to extensive scarring in their extra-ocular muscles.

It later became a first line treatment of choice for large congenital squints in infants and to treat smaller squints in children and adults providing life-enhancing effects: relieving the distress of being teased at school or stigmatised in the work place.

It is also a life-changing treatment for sufferers of cerebral palsy with huge muscle contractures and others with numerous neurological tics and spasms of the face and neck.

These were some of the areas of my ophthalmic and neuro-ophthalmic expertise during my two decades working in the NHS.

Despite all this, it is the most powerful naturally occurring neurotoxin and needs a healthy degree of respect and care in its delivery, whether for medical or aesthetic indications.

So I was interested to read in last weeks New Scientist that there have been some critical new insights into it’s mechanism of action. Previously, the toxin molecule was thought to gain access to the neuromuscular junction via two specific receptors. However, researchers at the University of Queensland, have now tracked a third responsible receptor.

This finding will ultimately aid in the future development of more effective drugs for treating and preventing botulism, a rare but potentially fatal disease."

To read the full article in The New Scientist please click here