Despite many methods of spine evaluation and advanced classifications of it’s curvature the prognosis concerning the development of scoliosis was not fully accurate until now. The scientists under the direction of dr. Kenneth Ward have tested the way of diagnosis whether curves in children witch scoliosis may transform into severe deformity. Analysing, i.e. human DNA they claimed that they can eliminate the probability of severe curvature with 99% accuracy. Thesis describing their research was published in “Spine” in December 2010.
The scientists tested adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It is a deformation of the spine which consist in the change of normal shape in three planes – frontal, sagittal and horizontal. The curvature can be assessed by measuring Cobb’s angle which can be established by measuring the angle between straights leaned against edges of two the most curved vertebras clearly visible in the X-ray. If the disease is not treated, Cobb’s angles grow along with the expansion of the deformations. In some people the deformation may progress in significant pace. That is why numerous diagnostics tests are made. The scientists indicate that genetic tests may simplify and accelerate diagnostics significantly.
In the experiment 697 afflicted Caucasian children between 9 and 13 years old were tested. They were diagnosed benign, mild or severe scoliosis before. Their saliva, from which DNA was obtained, was examined. Genetic tests were analysed according to prognostic test named ScoliScore. It was prepared by Axial Biotech Inc company from Salt Lake City. Companies such as DePuy or Johnson & Johnson have the rights for the test distribution. Genetic markers for the test were specified on a group of 9 thousand Caucasian people. 53 genetic markers of scoliosis, which are collated to curvature angle measured according to Cobb angle, were isolated. The results are established in the 1 to 200 points scale.
The scientists provided that if the score is 50 or less, the children have a low risk for developing a spinal curve of more than 40°. Range from 50 to 180 represent an intermediate risk. In turn, the score bigger than 200 may imply a high risk.
High result of ScoliScore test does not doom children to disability. According to scientists the test is useful in excluding the risk of further progression. If the score is less than 50 then, according to the results analysis of dr. Ward and his co-workers, for 99 % Cobb’s angle would not be bigger than 40° Furthermore, the results of the test should be interpreted in the context of other clinical and diagnostic information.
The effectiveness of the test would surely spare additional tests, consultations and repeated exposure during X-ray to many children and their parents. Owing to the fact that ScoliScore results are received as early as a few weeks, the exclusion of the danger would help in saving costs associated with repeated and long-lasting tests.