Scientists say that Botox - best known for its ability to erase wrinkles - provides long-term benefits to people who have problems speaking. People with the rare voice disorder spasmodic dysphonia have strained, broken or breathy voices. But researchers from the University of Michigan found a course of botox, which relaxes vocal chord muscles, had significant long-term benefits.
The study is published in Archives of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. Spasmodic dysphonia is one of a group of disorders known as dystonias, in which the part of the brain that controls movement causes involuntary muscle motion in specific areas of the body. It usually affects middle-aged women.
There are two types of spasmodic dysphonia - adductor, which affects the muscles that bring the vocal cords together, and the much less-common abductor form, which affects muscles that move them apart. The condition can affect patients' confidence and quality of life. Experts estimate that around 40,000 people in the UK have a type of dystonia, but they say many cases go undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, report BBC.
According to usatoday.com having Botox injected into your vocal cords might not sound like fun, but for the nation's estimated 15,500 sufferers of the voice disorder spasmodic dysphonia, it's a godsend. Botulinum toxin type A, aka Botox, is used to ease the symptoms of an increasing number of ailments tied to muscle function, including cerebral palsy and Tourette's syndrome.
With spasmodic dysphonia, which is caused by the involuntary movement of muscles in the larynx, Botox relaxes those muscles in the same way it relaxes the muscles in the furrowed foreheads of those who use it for cosmetic reasons.
Treatment involves first numbing the skin of the neck and then injecting Botox directly into the vocal cords.
This temporarily disconnects the nerve-to-muscle signals and reduces abnormal muscle activity while still allowing normal speech.