Botox and the prostate: A new wrinkle

It earned notoriety as the cause of a deadly form of food poisoning, and it's considered a potential weapon of bioterrorists. But recently, botulinum toxin (Botox) has also achieved respectability as a cosmetic treatment for wrinkles and as a therapy for a broad range of medical problems. And a 2005 study suggests that benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) may someday join the list of conditions that can benefit from it.

The toxin

Botox is a protein produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. It binds to nerve fibers, preventing them from releasing acetylcholine, a chemical that allows nerves to communicate with muscles and other nerves. Without this chemical messenger, muscles cannot contract properly.

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