The proceedings from the 2016 conference on conservative scoliosis treatment (SOSORT Society) recently came out.
Some of the research results reveal interesting relationships that could be relevant to highlight:
- Ultrasound can now be used instead of x-rays to track scoliosis progression. It cannot completely replace x-rays but could perhaps replace 50% of x-rays, significantly reducing the exposure to radiation
- Anorexic patients have a 6 times higher likelihood of having scoliosis. However, the cause-effect relationship hasn’t been determined. It is very interesting, though, since it hints that diet could have a huge impact on developing scoliosis.
- Newly diagnosed scoliosis patients that also suffer from osteopenia (low bone mineral density) have a significantly higher (10%) risk of deteriorating to the surgical level.
- There is a severe lack of knowledge about scoliosis among physiotherapy students in the UK. Only 7% (in this test) could answer the scoliosis survey questions correctly.
- Compliance with the Schroth home exercise program is problematic. A study reported that only 35% of patients (with average age 12.9 years) were able to comply totally with the program.
- Schroth exercises actually help. A blinded study reports that Schroth exercises were able to reduce curves in a group with age 10-18 and curves of 10-45 degrees. So there is no doubt now – it has been scientifically proven that Schroth exercises actually can help reduce scoliosis curves! Very significant result.
- A new extremely minimally invasive surgical method has been developed (ApiFix). In fact it doesn’t even involve fusion but rather inserts hardware that attaches to the spine with screws and is supported by specific physiotherapy exercises (Schroth). A research study in these proceedings documents that the new surgical method can work very well – but needs further testing.
- Melatonin induced deficiency in mice could cause them to develop scoliosis. When melatonin was supplied to them, the scoliosis development could be avoided. Obviously it is far from certain that similar relationships are present for humans.