Scoliosis DNA Test

WSOC-TV—Charlotte, N.C.—April 14, 2010

When viewed from the side of the body, the spine has two natural curves. The top curve (in the chest area) bends back, while the bottom curve (at the waist) bends forward. When viewed from the back, the spine should run in a straight line. In a person with scoliosis, the spine curves sideways, looking more like a “C” or “S” shape. The condition causes some of the vertebrae to twist and the ribs to protrude. One shoulder or hip may appear higher than the other. The chest may appear sunken and the person may lean more to one side. By definition, scoliosis is the presence of a spinal curve of 10 degrees or more.

In many cases, scoliosis curves are mild and cause no problems. However, as children grow, the curves can worsen. Those with severe curves may have pain, activity limitations and issues with self-esteem.

Now there’s a new test for helping doctors predict which patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis will have curve progression. It’s called the ScoliScore™ AIS Prognostic Test. A sample of the patient’s saliva is sent to a laboratory for DNA analysis. Daniel Green, M.D., a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, explains the lab screens for over 50 genetic markers related to curve progression in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and rates the results on a risk score, ranging from 1 to 200. The higher the score, the greater the risk for progression. Green says a patient with a low risk score may need to be monitored less frequently. On the other hand, those with a high score may need frequent monitoring to check curve progression. In some cases, a high risk score may lead to earlier treatment interventions to reduce the risk of curve progression.

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