Doctors in Stoke-on-Trent are using the anti-wrinkle treatment Botox to treat children with cerebral palsy.
Botox is used to smooth out wrinkles
It is estimated one in 400 people in the UK have cerebral palsy, where a part of the brain, usually the part that controls the muscles and movement, is affected.
The anti-wrinkle treatment enabled children to perform everyday tasks without struggling against involuntary muscle movements.
Dr Anthony Ward, director of the North Staffordshire Rehabilitation Centre, in Stoke-on-Trent, said he had seen dramatic results after treating children aged about 12 or 13 with botox.
"We've managed to keep people walking who would otherwise have ended up in wheelchairs," he said.
We've managed to keep people walking who would otherwise have ended up in wheelchairs
Botox uses tiny amounts of botulinum toxin, derived from the bacteria that cause botulism food poisoning.
The deadly nerve agent kills by paralysing the muscles used for breathing.
Applied in carefully controlled doses to the face, it can smooth out wrinkles and banish frown lines.
But doctors are now finding a wide range of other uses for botulinum, such as treating paralysis after a stroke, migraine headaches, back pain, writer's cramp
and muscle spasms.
As well as specialists in the UK using the treatment, scientists at the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington DC have tested the drug on 250 children aged one to 16-years-old with cerebral palsy.
Dr Marc DiFazio, who led the research, said: "It's very exciting to see the progress these kids can make."