Reports from the 51. ACNP Congress — I. Botulinum Toxin A as an Antidepressant

At the 51st Congress of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), 2nd – 6th December 2012 in Hollywood, Florida, Eric Finzi and Norman Rosenthal  from Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, reported today at the “Hot Topics” session on the results of their double-blind, placebo-controlled study of botulinum toxin A in patients with depression. Charles Darwin suggested that a person’s mood is not necessarily reflected in its facial expression, but that, conversely, the latter can have effects on mood and emotion. This hypothesis was later expanded by the American psychologist William James to the “facial feedback hypothesis”. It was again Darwin, who described that depressed people suffer from an over-activity of the corrugator (musculus corrugator supercilii, the “front-or brow corrugator”). Injection of botulinum toxin into the Glabella region (the region above the root of the nose) leads to effective paralysis of the muscle for about three months.

Finzi included patients with a depressive disorder into his study. Continue reading