Scientists: Botox May Treat Asthma

Botox has smoothed many lines on celebrity faces, but now it is being touted as the latest asthma treatment.

Researchers at Melbourne's Monash Medical Center are planning to inject Botox - or botulinum toxin - into the vocal cords of severe asthmatics in an attempt to relieve their attacks of breathlessness.

The world-first clinical trial will involve about 30 participants receiving single Botox injections within the next few months.

Aside from its renowned wrinkle-fighting properties, U.S. doctors have also said it can help with:
* Migraines
* Excessive sweating
* Incontinence
* Assist diabetics with weight gain
* Prevent ringing in the ears, and;
* Control drooling in some cerebral palsy patients

Researchers hope Botox use will effectively "reboot" their voice boxes, allowing the muscles to relax and remove any feelings of breathlessness.

"We don't think this will cure these asthmatics but it will help them to live better with asthma," said Phil Bardin, Monash Medical Center's director of respiratory and sleep medicine.

"They won't have asthma symptoms, which make them unable to walk far or go up stairs or when their chest tightens up they think they are going to die. It will help them live with an illness that disables them."

The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and a dry, continual cough - each of which can cause the airways to narrow.

However, asthma can also affect the voice box.

Bardin said the researchers decided to go ahead with the trials after scans revealed how the voice boxes of severe asthmatics often went into spasm.

The trial will last about a year, with the Botox injections expected to wear off within three months.

Botox is often injected into the vocal chords of people with laryngeal dystonia, a disorder involving the involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the larynx while a person is speaking.

The injections have become a standard treatment to help people speak properly again.

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