September 16, 2009

infections and wrinkles

random thing I learned today (and maybe this is more common knowledge than I thought):

botulism, like the bacteria you're worried about getting from your canned goods that aren't acidic enough, is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. But that's not the exciting part - how the bacteria works is by infecting your neuro-muscular junctions (the parts of your body where nerves connect to muscle to stimulate them to flex). When it infects these junctions, it inhibits the release of a neurotransmitter, called Acetylcholinase (it's like, THE neurotransmitter). This prevents any signaling from the neurotransmitter to the muscle, so the muscle cannot be enervated - or flex.

Horrible infection that causes breathing problems and often requires hospitalization with insertion of all sorts of breathing machines, feeding tubes, etc. If you suspect you have Botulism - call your doctor or go to the ER - type stuff. Treatment is with an antitoxin that kills the bacteria and reverses the symptoms.

BUT! (this is the crazy part) the bacteria are exactly what are used in Botox - like the thing you inject into your forehead to prevent wrinkles. In fact, Bo-tox stands for "botulism toxin". Apparently all over the US and world people are injecting toxic bacteria that inhibit neuromuscular junctions INTO THEIR FACES to prevent their facial muscles from flexing into positions that could cause them wrinkles. This explains why the risks of Botox include that you may hit a neuromuscular junction that matters - and get a droopy eye or something. Lucky for people interested in Botox, the effects don't last very long at the concentration given. So if you get a droopy eye it will only be for about four to six months. WHAT?!?!

I guess I haven't thought much about reducing the signs of aging. I've had a wrinkle on my forehead since I started reading, and I kinda dig it. But maybe I'll feel differently in a few decades...

"I wonder if I can grow fangs when my baby teeth fall out"
-Bill Waterson in Calvin and Hobbes

No comments:

Post a Comment