January 30, 2024
25 b&w illus.
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$24.00 USD, £19.00 GBP
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Death to Beauty

The Transformative History of Botox

In the 1970s, Dr. Alan Scott sought to selectively weaken eye muscles to treat strabismus (when one or both eyes are misaligned) without surgery. After failed attempts with other agents, Scott developed a method to stabilize the bacteria that causes botulism, culminating in a drug that eventually became known as Botox.

In Death to Beauty, Eugene M. Helveston, MD, follows the unlikely story of botulism's 1817 discovery in contaminated German sausages, to its use in military and research facilities, to Scott, an ophthalmologist who aimed to safely use the drug in humans. Scott struggled alone as an unknown in the pharmaceutical industry, searching for clinical trial financing and FDA approval, which he achieved at a fraction of the billions big pharma usually spends to bring a drug to market. Eventually, the company Allergan bought him out, capitalizing on the possibilities for cosmetic uses. Scott's formula was renamed "Botox" and reached annual sales in the billions. After the sale, Scott received no further compensation from Botox sales and remained the same unassuming man.

A fascinating walk through the intricate history of how the world's deadliest toxin starting as a treatment for crossed eyes became a routine tool for the cosmetic industry, Death to Beauty will make you rethink success, beauty, and deadly bacteria.

About the Author

Eugene M. Helveston, MD, is Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology at the IU School of Medicine. Helveston's numerous honors include the Kellogg Scholar Award from the University of Michigan, the Humanitarian of the Year and Silver Recognition Award from the Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Outstanding Humanitarian and Life Achievement Honor Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He has authored or co-authored three ophthalmology textbooks and over 300 scientific papers. He lives in Indianapolis.


"A riveting text that bridges biography, history, and medicine, Death to Beauty is a must-read for anyone interested in the story of how Dr. Alan Scott, working almost independently and with few resources, transformed the world's deadliest toxin into a wonder drug that has not only become a multi-billion-dollar industry, but a medical and cultural phenomenon."—Dana Berkowitz, author of Botox Nation: Changing the Face of America

"Expertly written and thoroughly researched, Dr. Helveston meticulously outlines the history of Botox and the pivotal role that Dr. Alan Scott played in bringing Botox safely to millions of people across the globe."—Christie L. Morse, MD, Concord Eye Center

"Dr. Helveston has painstakingly researched the life and accomplishments of Alan B. Scott MD, one of the most brilliant minds in medicine and creator of botulinum toxin (Botox) for the treatment of many conditions. This book is a page burner, interesting, and still very thorough. I highly recommend it to clinicians and non-clinicians alike."—William Good, MD, Senior Scientist at Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute

"At the heart of this book is the curiosity and determination of one man, Alan Scott. Helveston's compelling narrative makes botulinum toxin understandable, all the while tracing the fine line that distinguishes poison from medicine. Death to Beauty is an important addition to the history of medicine."—Edward O'Malley, MD, Senior Staff Physician Emeritus, Henry Ford Health

"Eugene Helveston, M.D. documents the amazing story of Botulinum toxin from a deadly problem to a very important therapeutic advance for patients with multiple types of neurological conditions, from various movement disorders' treatment to helping alleviating the misery of migraine headaches. Botulinum toxin has been a great advance for neurologists treating many needy patients."—David A. Josephson, M.D., Josephson-Wallack-Munshower Neurology, P.C.

"Dr. Scott would be proud and grateful."—C. William Hanke, MD, MPH, Former President, American Academy of Dermatology

9780253067807 : death-to-beauty-helveston
216 Pages
$24.00 USD

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