How About Botox® to Boost Your Mood?

Sure, getting rid of wrinkles can make anyone smile.  A new study found that Botox® not only soothes away wrinkles, but can also trick your brain into making you feel happy.

The study, which was performed by the US Association for Psychological Science, found that the wrinkle-reducing injectable actually has a positive effect on the brain as well. Forty volunteers were evaluated pre and post-Botox® injections by University of Wisconsin researchers. The volunteers then read a series of statements with content ranging from “angry” to “sad” to “happy”. Their response time to these statements was then used to gauge their mood.

Following the injections, the subjects took longer to read the “negative” passages than before they were injected. Researcher David Havas claimed that this delay was critical because it implies that the brain was taking longer to process the negative emotion after the drug’s injection.

According to Arthur Glenberg, the lead researcher, “Normally, the brain would be sending signals to the periphery to frown, and the extent of the frown would be sent back to the brain. But here, that loop is disrupted, and the intensity of the emotion and of our ability to understand it when embodied in language is disrupted.”

Basically, once your face stops frowning your brain decides that there is less to frown about.  The concept is a long-standing idea in psychology called the facial feedback hypothesis, which basically states that facial movement can influence emotional experience.

Now that’s something to smile about!

To Your Health & Beauty,
Kent V. Hasen, M.D.

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