View Full Version : scoliosis & vestibular system

08-26-2009, 12:34 PM
Here's a bit of information that was sent to me today from a Google alert:

Evidence for cognitive vestibular integration impairment in idiopathic scoliosis patients:

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is characterized by a three-dimensional deviation of the vertebral column and its etiopathogenesis is unknown. Various factors cause idiopathic scoliosis, and among these a prominent role has been attributed to the vestibular system.

While the deficits in sensorimotor transformations have been documented in idiopathic scoliosis patients, little attention has been devoted to their capacity to integrate vestibular information for cognitive processing for space perception. Seated idiopathic scoliosis patients and control subjects experienced rotations of different directions and amplitudes in the dark and produced saccades that would reproduce their perceived spatial characteristics of the rotations (vestibular condition).

We also controlled for possible alteration of the oculomotor and vestibular systems by measuring the subject's accuracy in producing saccades towards memorized peripheral targets in absence of body rotation and the gain of their vestibulo-ocular reflex.

Results: Compared to healthy controls, the idiopathic scoliosis patients underestimated the amplitude of their rotations. Moreover, the results revealed that idiopathic scoliosis patients produced accurate saccades to memorized peripheral targets in absence of body rotation and that their vestibulo-ocular reflex gain did not differ from that of control participants.

Conclusions: Overall, results of the present study demonstrate that idiopathic scoliosis patients have an alteration in cognitive integration of vestibular signals.

It is possible that severe spine deformity developed partly due to impaired vestibular information travelling from the cerebellum to the vestibular cortical network or alteration in the cortical mechanisms processing the vestibular signals.

Author: Martin SimoneauVincent LamotheEmilie HutinPierre MercierNormand TeasdaleJean Blouin
Credits/Source: BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10:102

08-26-2009, 02:09 PM
My 1998 Physical Therapy Masters Thesis is called "Standing Balance as a Screening Test For Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis". Since I have scoliosis and have always had poor balance I was curious about the relationship between vestibular dysfunction and the development of scoliosis. I wondered if there might be a way to screen people using a balance test to see who might be at risk for developing scoliosis. At that time there was a very little bit of information, a few studies, and not very much interest from the scoliosis experts. My own surgeon did not think that the idea had much merit.

Ironically, twenty years later, he is doing studies on balance.

I am glad to see that work is being done in this area. Thank you for posting this abstract.

08-26-2009, 03:40 PM
My son who is almost 6 and has Scoliosis is a very active, natural athelete. He is physically strong, well coordinated and has excellent balance. BTW, this makes him nothing like me. :eek:

So far he has mild Scoliosis of just 11 degrees. Sometimes I wonder if those attributes have kept his curve small.

Dr. Douglas Kiester the inventor of the internal Scoliosis brace and other medical devices suggests that children with Scoliosis should be as active as possible, "The more active the better". (http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showthread.php?t=8948)

No doubt athletics improve physical strength and may also positively impact the vestibular system.

08-26-2009, 04:34 PM
My daughter has always been physically graceful and yet sometimes lost her balance. She had more falls than my son who does not have scoilosis. We always thought it odd that she had so much physical race and facility and yet, the falls.

Coincidentally, she is currently being evaluated for visual processing and central auditory processing issues related to a learning disability; oculormotor and vestibular are part of the evals.