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Botox May Actually Help People with Treatment-Resistant Depression

Illustration for article titled Botox May Actually Help People with Treatment-Resistant Depression

New research suggests that Botox isn't just good for paralyzing the facial muscles that allow humans to communicate unspeakable emotions and bridge the fathomless chasms that exist between ultimately forsaken individuals bound together in the loose and unsatisfying confederacy we call "society" — it may help patients cope with a major depressive disorder that has so far proved unresponsive to antidepressant medications. In the first randomized, controlled study on botulinum toxin, researchers gave participants single dose of Botox in an area just above the eyebrows, while all those guileless control group fools got a placebo, mwahahah!

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Ahem, moving right along — depressive symptoms in the treatment group decreased in the treatment group 47 percent after six weeks. That improvement, moreover, held true throughout the rest of the 16-week study period (the stupids in the placebo showed just a 9 percent reduction in symptoms while they scratched their heads and wondered if they should be feeling something or not). Study author M. Axel Wollmer can't be blamed for emphasizing his awesome middle name and believes that Botox treatment "interrupts feedback from the facial musculature to the brain, which may be involved in the development and maintenance of negative emotions." Earlier studies have linked Botox with depression for the very same reason — that by paralyzing facial expressions, it forced patients to internalize all their negative feelings. Not being able to express these emotions, however, may actually benefit people suffering from treatment-resistant depression,

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Botox Fights Depression [Scientific American]

Image via taramara78/Shutterstock.

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It was also thought that Botox could be used to relieve chronic migraines, after one study sponsored by Allergan (surprise, surprise). Later clinical studies have shown very little effect although Botox remains approved for the treatment of chronic migraines by national healthcare bodies in several countries.

I really hope that this works out better but given the cost of neurotoxins like Botox, how many will be able to afford it?