(10/29/12) - There is a new way to determine a child's risk of developing Scoliosis. Scoliosis usually affects kids between the ages of 10 and 15. It is a curvature of the spine that can cause excruciating pain, or even death. Now there is a simple way to gage a child's risk without guessing or over-testing.
Alyssa Smith loves staying active. "I like doing dives and jumps and flips."
But her mother, Andrea, worries Scoliosis could threaten that. "She was fine last year. And then she had a physical this year and she was at 20 degrees, 21 degrees."
Andrea knows it could get worse. It did for her. "When I hit my growth spurt at 13, the curve excelled, it went just over 70 degrees."
Andrea's had to have surgery at 13 to fix it. Now, a saliva test is being used to predict how severe Alyssa's curve will be.
"We may be able to use novel treatments or start earlier bracing to prevent her progression to surgery," says Dr. Duken Shah.
It is called Scoliscore. Dr. Shah says it is more than 98 percent accurate. The test uses DNA from saliva to determine Scoliosis risk.
"It eliminates all the inefficiency in medical care that we currently have. Over treatment, over x-ray, bringing down the cost of medicine, to those patients that actually need it," Shah says.
No matter what the result, Alyssa says she'll get through it. "Just keep strong and don't worry about it."
Scoliscore screens for 53 genetic markers to determine risk.
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