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April 2000

Botulinum Toxin: Beyond Cosmesis

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(4):539-541. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.4.539

BOTULINUM TOXIN A has virtually revolutionized the minimally invasive approach to cosmetic enhancement of the upper face. Nevertheless, the road to its present cosmetic and noncosmetic applications could certainly be considered a journey of serendipity. In 1895, Emile P. Van Ermengem first isolated the evil microbe Clostridium botulinum from food and the postmortem tissue of victims who had died in Ellezelles, Belgium, after consuming raw, salted pork. Additionally, he was aware that this disease process was caused by a toxin produced by this bacterium. Nevertheless, it was not until 1946 that the toxin produced by this organism was first isolated in crystalline form by Edward J. Schantz at Camp Detrick in Maryland.

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