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Botox helping people with cerebral palsy move once more

When most people in the state of Texas think of Botox, they think of the neurotoxin protein used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles on an individual. And while the drug has seen its share of parody and scrutiny, doctors are giving the injection a face lift of its own by using it for other purposes.

The injection of Botox has proven to do everything from decrease the severity of a migraine to eliminating excess sweating. But now, doctors are finding that Botox injections are incredibly helpful in people disabled by cerebral palsy. An often times crippling disability that usually confines a person to a wheelchair in most cases, injections administered directly into a patient's affected muscles is not only increasing their ability to move their muscles but is allowing them the chance to walk.

Cerebral palsy is term used to classify a group of movement impairments that are caused by injury to the brain. In cerebral palsy cases, a person's muscles constrict uncontrollably, leaving a person unable to straighten their limbs. Doctors found, however, that by injecting Botox into a patient's muscles, the neurotoxin protein unblocked the nerve impulses that caused the muscles to tense in the first place. Once the patient's muscles relaxed, they were able to move in a relatively normal fashion. Some were even able to walk for the first time.

While the treatments only lasts between four to six months, many patients and doctors nationwide see it as at least a small respite and a way of getting relief from their disability, if even for a small amount of time.

Source: The New York Daily News, "Botox injections help 3-year-old boy with cerebral palsy walk for the first time," April 9, 2013

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