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There’s Toxicity, and There’s Toxicity (2017)

55 points1 dayblogs.sciencemag.org
stenl3 hours ago

I once bought some pure botulinum toxin for an experiment (it blocks the release of acetyl choline at neuromuscular junctions). I want to say it was a milligram, but I don’t remember (that would have been 1000 times the lethal dose by inhalation). We had to get special export permission from the US government.

When the tiny vial arrived in a very large multilayered package, I sat down and read the Materials Safety Datasheet and contemplated the implications. I then decided never to open the package. We stored it under a big hollow block of concrete until the hazardous waste disposal people could figure out what to do with it.

drew5555518 hours ago

I forgot that toxicity was a word and thought this was going to be about system of a down.

rob742 hours ago

And I thought it was going to be about social media, not actual toxicity...

tlarkworthy4 hours ago

Why does Botox contain the most toxic substance? I thought it was just filler. Now I am totally curious with what is the mechanism of Botox.

shawnz4 hours ago

It reduces appearance of wrinkles by controlled paralysis of facial muscles.

ntlk4 hours ago

Fillers provide facial volume, whereas Botox paralyses muscles. Botox can also be used to treat things like excessive sweating or chronic pain, but I’m unsure of the mechanism.

robbedpeter3 hours ago

Botox uses botulinum toxin to paralyze muscles in areas the patient wants to appear firm.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botulinum_toxin

This leads to some absurd looking people whose lips or eyes don't work to make expressions, and they look like uncanny valley robots.

s53003 hours ago

Botox is amazing for a large amount of chronic pain conditions caused by musculoskeletal abnormalities, as well as being used as a diagnostic tool for nervous system dysfunction.

I was pretty amazed reading a writeup about the facility in either Irvine or Anaheim CA that the toxin is processed at. They take the delivery/transport security incredibly fucking seriously because the amount is enough to kill a lot of people if used as a bioweapon iirc

robbedpeter2 hours ago

The ability to turn specific nerves off and on again is borderline miraculous.

s530033 minutes ago

Hmm, I'm not sure about that - at least with Botox.

For what I was referring to - take Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome for example. This is a very tricky medical condition, not yet fully understood in all cases, and requires ruling out a lot of other things.

For example, you're having symptoms of carpel tunnel or tennis elbow. Normally docs would do an EMG to see if the nerve has been damaged in the wrist or elbow. Nerves end up coming back fine - in the sense that there's no permanent damage, but the symptoms are still obviously there... now obviously, there's a larger tree of things to rule out/processes to do, but to keep it simple, we get to a point we suspect the issue is coming from the brachial plexus nerve bundle... we then inject Botox to the pec minor and scalenes. This eliminates the symptoms for some short amount of time, and thus indicates you would be a good surgical candidate to have your pec minor, anterior scalenes (or more), and first rib surgically removed, so that the nerve/arteries are no longer being impinged upon by the muscles/bone structure.

That is what I mean in the sense of using it as a "diagnostic tool"

However - Botox also helps with things like cervical/other dystonias. Sometimes, completely curing, but they really don't know exactly why in many cases. That is somewhat more of the turning nerves off w/Botox alone.