Botox Shot in the Stomach May Aid in Weight Loss, Slows Down Food Ingestion

By Camille H, Parent Herald February 11, 05:56 pm

Botox, a treatment normally used to address wrinkles, is currently being tested as a way to address obesity, according to  a recent study.

In order to cure obesity, new tests involve botox injections into the stomach wall muscles are being done. Early results show that it may slow down the speed at which food travels through the stomach. When done, people will eat less as they are more likely to feel fuller for longer periods of time. Animal studies have suggested it could help reduce a third of a person's weight in just five weeks. On the National Health Service (NHS), surgery is being made available for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above, or 35 or above if they are suffering from a serious condition that may be improved with weight loss.

Compared to other types of procedures like gastric bypass and gastric banding, botox is known to have fewer side effects and is also considered to be much cheaper than surgery. The treatment is based on the toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and works by blocking signals from nerves to muscles that, in effect, it reduces muscle contractions. In the new trial at Trodheim University Hospital in Norway, a long tube with camera at the end is inserted through the patient's mouth and into their stomach. Researchers conducting the trial claim previous studies have been small and poorly designed.

Their study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, focused on dopamine, a type of brain-chemical. When the researchers activated dopamine receptor cells in the mice's prefrontal cortex - the decision-making part of the brain - they found that animals ate more and inhibiting the cells made them eat less. 

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