The bacterial toxin botulinum toxin (BTX)—colloquially known as Botox—is probably known to most people as a remedy for wrinkles. But botulinum toxin can do even more: if it is injected into the forehead, for example, it can alleviate depression. It also dampens negative emotions in people with borderline personality disorder, who suffer from extreme mood swings.
Professor Dr. Tillmann Krüger, senior physician and research group leader at the Clinic for Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Hannover Medical School (MHH), proved this years ago—together with his colleague Privatdozent (PD) Dr. Marc Axel Wollmer from the Asklepios Campus Hamburg of Semmelweis University. Now the psychiatrists have found out where and how BTX influences the negative program in the brain. With the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), they have visualized the neuronal effects in borderline patients. The result: botulinum toxin influences the so-called amygdala or almond nucleus in the temporal lobe in the brain, where fears arise and are processed. The work was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.