Australian scientists are testing an unusual treatment for especially severe asthma: a shot of Botox right to the throat.
According to the Telegraph, half of people with asthma also have voicebox spasms that can make it difficult to exercise or perform other normal activities. Researchers hope to stop these spasms by injecting the voicebox with Botox, something already used for other vocal cord problems. The treatment sounds scary — a shot of a paralytic toxin in your throat — but Prof. Phil Bardin, who's directing the trial, hopes it will provide significant benefits for patients: "They won't have asthma symptoms which make them unable to walk far or go up stairs or when their chest tightens up they think they are going to die. It will help them live with an illness that disables them."
The trial, which will include thirty patients, is supposed to last a year, and getting the treatment approved in the US will likely take longer. But Botox is already used here to treat the vocal cord disorder spasmodic dysphonia — perhaps it will one day be used to treat asthma as well. At the very least, the research is a reminder that the toxin — which was first used to treat excessive muscle contractions — has uses beyond smoothing of celebrity foreheads.
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