Botulism Toxin May Help Cerebral Palsy Patients

November 5, 2001

A treatment that has been used for years to smooth wrinkles may also help children suffering from cerebral palsy.

A toxin taken from botulism has shown to be effective in relaxing the muscles of children with cerebral palsy. A study of more than 150 children examined the efficacy of injecting botulism toxins into the children's muscles. The toxin forces the surrounding muscles to weaken. Cerebral palsy patients often have a tightening of the leg muscles that restrict their movement and cause them to walk on their toes.

The treatment helped some of the children involved to walk without braces and ride tricycles.

The bacteria botulism can be lethal if consumed in food. However, a purified form has been used medicinally for several decades. The toxin can help control involuntary muscle spasms and is used for cosmetic procedures.

Information from www.latimes.com, www.fda.gov