By Margarita Nahapetyan
Balding people may be offered a new cure for hair loss - injections of Botox. The toxic chemicals are commonly used to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, but doctors have discovered that they can regrow hair as well.
The treatment was discovered by accident, when an American plastic surgeon Dr. Simon Ourian, based in Beverly Hills, California, was trying to find a treatment for his mother's headaches. Botox is used by many people to alleviate migraine headaches, and Dr. Ourian's mother, a cancer victim, was undergoing a course of chemotherapy as a result of which her hair fell out.
Therefore, being familiar with Botox's use as a headache treatment, cosmetic surgeon injected the chemical - the medical name for a form of Botulinum toxin - into her scalp but was stunned to discover that the chemical also appeared to help her hair to grow back. The only explanation could be that Botox, a relaxant, dilates the blood vessels, which allows nutrients into the shrunk air follicles and stimulates growth of new hair.
According to the expert, he was happily surprised by the result, and that is why he decided to share the discovery with several of his regular patients. And because hair loss is a problematic issue and a significant source of insecurity for many individuals, including both male and female, there was no shortage of volunteers with thinning hair to take part in an experiment.
The expert said that he tested the new theory on volunteers for three consequent years at his Beverly Hills practice, adding a mixture of vitamins in order to make the process more effective. Dr. Ourian says that in spite of the fact that the treatment needs repeated injections, it makes a "dramatic" difference. "With my patients these Botox vitamin injections for baldness have been very safe and more effective than anything I have ever seen before," he said. If these new claims are proved in formal scientific trials, Botox could potentially be used as the basis for new treatments for baldness.
Botox is the medical name for Botulinum toxin - the most toxic known protein. Sold under the brand names Botox, Dysport, Myobloc, Neurobloc and Xeomin, the drug was developed to treat eye muscle spasms but is most widely known for its cosmetic purposes, being commonly used as an anti-wrinkle treatment as it paralyzes facial muscles.
Despite the current crisis in the economy, Botox injections were up 8 per cent in 2008. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 5 million people received Botox injections to smooth their wrinkles and fine lines last year. In the 1950s, scientists discovered that when small amounts of Botulinum toxin type A were administered into overactive muscles, the muscle activity decreased. The toxic works by blocking the release of acetylcholine from the nerves to the muscle, preventing it from contracting for 3 to 4 months.