Shock research finds Botox injections can interfere with brain activity connected to recognising emotions
- Roughly 900,000 Britons have injections containing botulinum toxin each year
- Studies show the injections reduce the patient’s ability to express emotions
Botox injections could impair the ability to recognise others’ feelings, research suggests.
In a study that involved looking at happy and sad faces, the participants who’d had the anti-ageing injections had altered brain activity in areas related to emotion.
Roughly 900,000 Britons have Botox injections each year, where a compound called botulinum toxin is injected into areas of the face, such as the forehead and around the eyes and mouth. This procedure relaxes the muscles under the skin by blocking the nerve signals that cause them to contract, smoothing out wrinkles.
However, this can also reduce the individuals’ ability to express emotions with facial expressions.
In the study, scientists at the University of California and researchers from Botox-makers AbbVie performed brain scans on ten women before Botox injections in the forehead and again two to three weeks later. During the scans, participants had to attempt to recognise anger and happiness on photographs of faces.
Roughly 900,000 Britons have Botox injections each year, where a compound called botulinum toxin is injected into areas of the face, such as the forehead and around the eyes and mouth
Experts say the findings of the study show that the inability to smile or frown, which can be a result of Botox, also effects how individuals read other faces
Results revealed that after the Botox there was altered activity in brain areas involved with emotional processing, such as the amygdala and fusiform gyrus.
Experts say the findings of the study show that the inability to smile or frown, which can be a result of Botox, also effects how individuals read other faces.
Speaking to New Scientist magazine, Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, researcher in human cognition at the University of South Australia, explained that mimicking expressions helps us to recognise them – our facial muscles unconsciously copy the other person’s frown or smile before sending signals to the areas of the brain that interpret the emotions. As Botox restricts this movement, this is disrupted.
‘You might not be able to experience someone else’s emotions as intensely or vividly as you would like to,’ he added.
Tijon Esho, who offers the jabs at The Esho Clinic, said: ‘There’s no doubt Botox manipulates emotional communication. Some people want to make their face less expressive for work – they think it makes seniors take them more seriously.
‘We relate to others based on what we see in ourselves. If you can’t see or feel yourself frown or smile, it makes perfect sense that you’ll struggle to see it in others.’