More commonly used for its anti-wrinkle properties, botox injections have recently been used to help three-year-old Irish American cerebral palsy sufferer, Aiden Farrell, to walk.
Parents of the toddler, Sara and Gevun Farrell, decided to try the botox therapy after searching the internet for ways in which they could help their young son who has suffered from health problems since his premature birth at 29 weeks.
The toddler received 12 botox injections to his calf, hamstring and groin areas in December of last year and, thanks to the treatment, is now able to stand, walk with his legs straighter on his walking frame, and even take a few steps on his own.
Mother of four, Sara Farrell, said that the treatment has been a godsend and “the difference in his mobility is unbelievable.”
Expressing her joy in the difference the botox has made in her son’s life, she told New York Daily News "Seeing Aiden take his first steps is something I never dreamed would be possible. I noticed as soon as we got home after having the treatment the difference was amazing. Usually he would sit on the sofa with his legs bent up but his legs were normal, like ours would be when we sit on the sofa.”
"It may sound unusual but if it helps my little boy walk I do not care.”
Dr Marc DiFazio, a US based neurologist who has led a study on botox in relation to cerebral palsy which recorded an 86% success rate out of 250 children tested, says, “These results confirm that botulinum toxin in appropriate dosing is safe and effective for long-term use for children with cerebral palsy.”
Aiden’s treatment will last from four to six months due to the botox which relaxes the contraction of muscles in some people with cerebral palsy by blocking nerve impulses, thus allowing better control of movement and reducing the risk of muscle and tendon shortening.
The 3-year-old may now also be eligible for an operation which will cut the nerves in his lower back and provide a permanent cure for his condition.
Jackie Kennedy’s granddaughter has uncannily similar looks