The discovery of the wonderfully paralyzing antidote for aging appearance, Botox, goes way back to the 1820's when Dr. Kerner first  investigated the deaths of some Germans after eating sausage. The sausage turned out to contain botulinum toxin, which causes neurological symptoms. Years later in the 1950's, an opthalmologist who was looking for a cure for crossed eyes, realized that small doses of botulinum can be used to relax the muscle and help with crossed eyes. Hence, after receiving FDA approval, Botox was born and is now the #1 nonsurgical cosmetic procedure in the US.
 
But would you be surprised if I told you that Botox could treat your chronic migraines or underarm sweating? A couple years back, all I knew about Botox was that it is a toxin used for wrinkle treatment, but there are actually dozens of places where Botox can be used, not only for cosmetic procedures, but for medical treatments as well. Some are not FDA approved for use, such as for gummy smile and hair rejuvenation, but some are FDA approved, for example, for migraine headaches and excessive sweating. Breaking news last year noted that Botox may be useful in treating stomach cancers by blocking nerve signals to the stomach to slow the growth of stomach cancers. More recently, there has been a study examining the use of Botox in post-mastectomy breast reconstruction to reduce postoperative pain and decrease the time necessary to expand the tissue before the insertion of breast implants. Furthermore, there is evidence that Botox can elevate mood and may be a possible cure for depression by changing facial muscles because we are not only changing the expression of emotion, but also the perception of our feelings.
 
Who would have thought that a poisonous strain of bacteria discovered hundreds years ago may be used so widely for medical treatment? Like the Gestalt psychologists termed it, functional fixedness is our mental block against using an object in a new way that keeps us from innovating. But who knows? Years from now in the future, Botox may truly rule them all in the medical field.

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