Could Botox, Acetylcholine, and Memory Problems Be Related?

Sinece Botox works by blocking the transmission of acetylcholine could this cause one to not think clearly? Researched the link between acetylcholine and memory and found that it appears to be important for memory function, specifically short term memory making. Here is an excerpt from the article: Memory starts as a biochemical response in the brain following sensory input. The first change comes at the level of the synapse--junctions between nerve cells. Acetylcholine, a well known neurotransmitter, plays a critical synaptic role in the initial formation of memory. We can think of short-term memory as resulting from a transient change in neurostransmitter levels at synapses. Treatments for memory-deficit problems, like Alzheimer's, in humans often involve enhancing the retention of acetylcholine in brain synapses. Aricept (donepezil hydrochloride), a drug marketed to prevent memory problems, acts by inhibiting the action of the enzyme in the brain that breaks down acetylcholine (acetylcholinesterase). People with moderate levels of dementia can show marked improvement with this sort of treatment. Is there any evidence to support that Botox could not be causing memory issues?

Doctor Answers 3

Botox does not seem to affect memory function

I appreciate your research and you ask an interesting question. It is known that Botox tends to bind quickly in the local tissues. whether any dissemniation via an inadvertent intravascular injection could affect memory neurons is questionable and even if it did would its effect last long enough to produce an ongoing clinical issue. I have forwarded your question to the scientific research team at Allergan, the manufacturer of Botox Cosmetic botulinum toxin.

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Could Botox, Acetylcholine, and Memory Problems Be Related?

There are a lot of assumptions in your statements, and while this is good for a study, it's not good for definitive answers without some serious medical testing. Most of your statements are based on the idea of Botox actually being in the brain itself to affect these transmissions, which it's not. While there is acetylcholine in the brain, there is also acetylcholine just in nerves, which have nothing to do with neurotransmission to the brain. There are studies to show that no neurotoxin goes directly into the brain with regular cosmetic Botox usage but only into injected muscles, and thus the neurotransmitters there are affected only. In this case, it's causing the neurotransmitters that make the muscles move inhibited, not the neurotransmitters in the brain, which would have to do with memory and memory functions. So the long and short, there is no medical evidence that cosmetic Botox has any affect on the memory.

Botox and memory loss

The injection of Botox for cosmetic purposes has not been linked, in any capacity, to memory loss as that would infer direct toxin exposure to the brain. To better relate to your point, if such an element did exist, there would be compromise of other functions beyond just memory loss that would be effected (i.e. think of how a stroke effect the brain).
Be healthy and be well,
James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS

James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
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