Acid Tile Colon and Sausage Poisoning
Botulinum toxin is pretty impressive. You probably know it as Botox ™.
The story of botox is the story of acetylcholine, more on that later.
We stole botox from a bacteria. We knew about it because our previous experiences with botox were bad, the type of bad that brings attention; botulism.
In 1820, Justinus Kerner, a small-town German medical officer and romantic poet, gave the first complete description of clinical botulism based on extensive clinical observations of so-called “sausage poisoning” (botulus comes from the latin for sausage).
In 1895 Émile van Ermengem, professor of bacteriology, correctly described Clostridium botulinum as the bacterial source of the toxin when thirty-four attendees at a funeral were poisoned by eating partially salted ham, an extract of which was found to cause botulism-like paralysis in laboratory animals.
Over the next three decades cases of botulism rose in association with canned foods and almost derailed the entire booming canning industry until a method of heating the cans was developed, denaturing (inactivating) the toxin.
Infant botulism still happens because the bacteria can grow in the intestines and release the toxin. This typically only occurs in children less than six months old, as protective mechanisms develop after that time. It’s also the reason that honey is not recommended for children under one year old as the Clostridium botulinum can grow in honey.
Botulism the disease begins with weakness, blurred vision, feeling tired, and trouble speaking. This may then be followed by weakness of the arms, chest muscles, and legs. In those who lose their ability to breathe on their own, mechanical ventilation may be necessary for months.
Botox was found to work by blocking the release of acetylcholine (‘Acid Tile Colon’, or, more accurately, ‘Acid Tile Coal Lean’?) (but I think ‘Acid Tile Colon’ is funnier). Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter with more than one job. It is used chiefly by the motor nervous system (muscles), the parasympathetic nervous system (‘feed and breed’) and the enteric nervous systems (‘rest and digest’). Movement, sexual arousal, salivation, lacrimation (tears), sweating, urination, digestion and defecation all utilize acetylcholine and hence can all be targeted by botox.
To date botox ‘s uses include relaxing muscle spasticity, strabismus (improper eye alignment), overactive bladder, wrinkles, excessive sweating, neuropathic and chronic pain and migraines.
In 2012 JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) published a meta-analysis (see previous blogs for description) titled; Botulinum toxin A for prophylactic treatment of migraine and tension headaches in adults: a meta-analysis. It demonstrated that botulium toxin was as good as many medications used in the treatment of chronic headache and migraine (>15 headaches/ month) such as valproate, topiramate and amitriptyline. Overall it showed a small to modest benefit for chronic daily headaches and migraines.
But I reckon if you are suffering chronic headaches or migraines small to modest is an improvement. Thanks sausage poisoning.