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Sree Varshini M
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BoTox – science under control

24 July 2021

Brain, the most inaccessible organ in the whole system and how it relays the stimuli is by firing neurotransmitters, a set of proteins and organic compounds that plays the pivotal role in transferring information across the system, which includes memory, cognition, interpretation and everything. The controlling system is very much used to reward and punish, as we achieve something every day; we have the dopamine rush, the so-called ‘mesolimbic dopamine part’ of our brain. So for a very good example, a drunken master will always know the art of happiness. Alcohol intake will make his brain overflow with dopamine that causes the activation of the reward system, which makes him feel like an achiever; well it is not the reality!!! The brain chemistry behind this is excitotoxicity in neurons by the ethanol, which continuously firs the neurotransmitters. Similarly any drugs we take in, do the same activity, either stop or excites the neurons. We all know about tetanus or the ‘lockjaw’, bacterial infection by Clostridium tetani and by 1978 the DPT (Diptheria, Pertussis and tetanus) vaccine was made compulsory in India. these are bacterial toxins that block the neuro-muscular junctions, resulting in muscle contraction. Similarly, one other bacterial toxin called BoNT secreted by the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum prevents the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (an organic compound essential in muscle movements, at the neuromuscular junctions), thus causing paralysis. All these are neurotoxins but do we know that they are used therapeutics? BoNT or BoTox is essentially used in the cosmetic industry as a primary compound in reducing wrinkles, but only by a certified medical professional involving an in-office non-surgical injection. Botox is being injected on the forehead, under the eye or in the neck to reduced migraines and spasms. The principle is the same, as a diluted solution; BoTox mimics the acetylcholine receptions in the neuro-muscular junction, blocking the stimulation of neurotransmitters and thus relieves us from the pain. Many such drugs are being used in the market only with specific guidelines, safe and secured. Vaccines are also similar truths. Using science for useful purpose is always in the hands of professionals to keep it cautious in practice and as in society, we have to develop awareness about the co-existing lives around us, understand science and nature is important to help each other and survival!!

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