Botox injections for smoothing wrinkles were first used in the 80s of the last century. Since then, this anti-aging procedure has gained incredible popularity. Specialists in aesthetic medicine position Botox as an effective remedy to combat age-related skin changes. Injections of a cleaned and weakened botulinum toxin have proven to be excellent as a “magic wand” that allows you to return the face of youthful smoothness and forget about facial wrinkles.
However, recently the Internet has literally “flooded” publications that the pursuit of beauty and eternal youth can have extremely negative consequences for health. Moreover, if it was previously claimed that the main dangers of Botox injections are psychological habituation to them and the possibility of muscle atrophy, now the “sofa experts” have adopted a new “horror story”. So, now visitors to aesthetic medicine clinics are intimidated by the fact that botulinum toxin injections have a devastating effect on the brain, provoking the development of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and also reduce cognitive abilities and intelligence.
Botox and Alzheimer's: is there a connection?
The reason for the allegations of the connection "beauty shots" and dementia was a study conducted by a group of Italian scientists. It is noteworthy that it was carried out on laboratory mice, and was also short-term. Nevertheless, unscrupulous journalists rushed to seize the “sensation” and present the intermediate data of Italian specialists as an irrefutable fact - they say, accumulating as a result of beauty injections in the brain tissues, Botox destroys them. At the same time, none of the many serious studies of medical botulinum toxin confirmed the link between injections and the development of dementia.
In order to finally debunk this myth, it is necessary to remind how the medical botulinum toxin "behaves" after it enters the body. For some time, it is concentrated at the point of intramuscular injection, and then enters the systemic circulation. At the same time, provided that the indicated dose is observed, it is not able to overcome the blood-brain barrier, and therefore does not cause any systemic effects. The hemagglutinin and non-hemagglutinin proteins that make up the medical botulinum toxin are rapidly metabolized to form simple molecular structures, and then they are eliminated by the kidneys. The toxin itself interacts with the nerve endings at the injection site, as a result of which the production of the substance acetylcholine, which is responsible for transmitting the nerve impulse to the muscles, is stopped.
However, the human body is a self-renewing system. After some time, new fibers appear in the blocked nerve ending, as a result of which the synthesis of proteins responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses resumes. Therefore, taking into account the regenerative function of the organism, there is no need to talk about some kind of “accumulation” of the drug in the tissues.
Botox and intelligence: Are they stupid from "beauty shots"?
Another popular myth associated with botulinum toxin injections is the supposedly negative impact of this drug on intellectual abilities. Critics of aesthetic medicine claim that people who have been given “beauty injections” have significantly reduced their mental abilities: they say they perceive the spoken language and the read text less well, and also begin to suffer from a lack of imagination.
Such "experts" insist that there is some connection between mimic activity and the thought process. So, in their opinion, it is mimicry that "activates" cognitive abilities, "triggers" information processing by the brain. The main argument in this case is the fact that most people who solve some complicated problem in their mind are really actively working with facial muscles: they wrinkle their foreheads, purse their lips, etc. Therefore, the "experts" assure that Botox, disrupting mimic activity, contributes to the fact that a person in the literal sense of the word becomes stupid and cannot cope with even the simplest intellectual load.
In fact, of course, all this is speculation that has nothing to do with reality. If there really was a connection between the activity of facial muscles and intellect, geniuses and geeks would have to write down monkeys who constantly make faces, and people who by nature do not differ in increased emotionality or perfectly control facial expressions would be counted as fools.
Botox safety: what's in reality?
As noted above, botulinum toxin has been used for almost half a century for medical purposes. Moreover, it is permitted even for use in pediatrics - in particular, for the treatment of strabismus. Specialists would hardly have corrected the baby’s squint with the help of this drug, knowing that in the future this is fraught with extremely negative consequences for the brain! Note, in pediatrics, Botox is also used to treat cerebral palsy, spastic torticollis, hyperhidrosis, migraine and a number of other diseases.
Therefore, no doubt, the safety of botulinum toxin injections depends primarily on the quality of the preparation used and the availability of appropriate qualifications by the specialist. The main problem today is the presence on the market of a huge amount of falsification. In an effort to earn as much as possible with minimal spending on drugs, unscrupulous cosmetologists sometimes get very dubious products from distributors who sell them counterfeit goods. Of course, such injections can cause serious complications.
Recall that the qualification of a specialist is of great importance. Insufficient experience or doubtful competence of a cosmetologist can lead to the fact that due to the incorrect administration of the drug, the patient will have face asymmetry or ptosis of the eyelid. Therefore, contact for the injections of botulinum toxin should only be to proven professionals.