Botox - Miracle Drug or Deadly Bioweapon?

Botox - Miracle Drug or Deadly Bioweapon?

In the latest issue of Atomic Magazine, an entirely pupil-led, written, and published scientific magazine, Ryan (Year 12) explores the use of Botox and how even the most toxic of drugs can be made to do good. 


Authored by Ryan (Year 12)

Undoubtedly the most popular cosmetic drug currently on the market, Botox is a trademarked therapeutic widely used to reduce facial wrinkles, but is also used in the treatment of muscle hypersensitivity, migraines and even premature ejaculation. In the USA alone, there were 7.23 million documented Botox procedures in 2017.

However, what is perhaps less known about Botox is that it is actually an extremely potent neurotoxin. So what is it that makes Botox both an effective treatment for muscular disorders, and a terrifying bioweapon at the same time?

What is Botox, and how does it work?

Botox is actually shorthand for Botulinum toxin, a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum under anaerobic conditions. This protein causes botulism, a disease characterised by symptoms of weakness, fatigue and vomiting, followed by blurry vision and difficulty in swallowing and speaking. In extreme cases, paralysis followed by respiratory failure and death can occur.

This is because botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin which prevents the transport of signals between nerves, such that muscles in the respiratory system (such as the diaphragm, intercoastal muscles) cannot contract, preventing gas exchange which is essential for respiration, and by extension, life. (cont.)

Link to Full article

Atomic Magazine is focused on bringing not only scientific content but the art of communicating science to everyone, even those who prefer English over Maths! It represents the hard work of dozens of pupils in Charterhouse who write articles on their scientific interests, inside and outside the classroom. With works ranging from Chemical Engineering to Psychology to Alchemy – Atomic is for anyone who has an interest in just how important communication is in our modern world, with a special emphasis on those who are considering pursuing a Science subject.

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