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Thread: Recent study on Melatonin and Scoliosis

  1. #61
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    Melatonin and bone formation

    UB Scientists Discover Role Of Melatonin In Bone Formation

    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo researchers have shown for the first time that melatonin, a hormone produced naturally by the pineal gland and used widely as a supplement to diminish jet lag and improve sleep patterns, may play an important role in promoting bone growth.

    Melatonin may or may not play a role in slowing curve progression. However it appears to play a significant role in bone formation. Clearly that's important for all children whether they have Scoliosis or not.

    Google search: melatonin bone formation
    If you scan the headlines on the first page it's very telling.

    Maximum bone density is achieved by late adolescence so get started as soon as you can.

    What's so bad about Osteoporosis besides a few broken bones? How does Vertigo grab you?
    Dizziness May Be Tied to Osteoporosis
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-08-2009 at 11:06 AM.

  2. #62
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    CD

    Quote Originally Posted by Dingo View Post
    I'm not looking for a cause, nor do I have the ability to look because I'm not a scientist in the field. However anyone with a simple knowledge of mathematics and biology can see that in all likelihood Scoliosis is not typically the result of heredity. That's my only point on that subject.
    Sorry to disappoint, but I am done here. Dingo has just distilled the life's work of thousands of geneticists and molecular biologists down to one statement of "simple biology and mathematics". I have no rebuttal.

    I commented on the editing because if one takes time to thoughtfully consider what they are writing and how that might be interpreted by others before going live, there is no need to edit later. I failed to do that in my "bet" comment.

    p

  3. #63
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    "Simple" biology

    Quote Originally Posted by PNUTTRO View Post
    (snip)Dingo has just distilled the life's work of thousands of geneticists and molecular biologists down to one statement of "simple biology and mathematics". I have no rebuttal.
    Whenever I see biology referred to as "simple," I always think how we can send a man to the moon but we can't do "X" where "X" is any number of biological/medical problems.

    We can send a man to the moon and fly space shuttles to space stations but we can't even determine what causes scratches in horses or why lithium helps with bipolar disorder.

    It's sobering to say the least.

    "Biology" and "simple" don't go together.

    And w.r.t. math, that is a tool to help decipher the biology. And if you need fancy statistics to tease out an answer, you likely did the wrong experiment.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 04-09-2009 at 09:49 AM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
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    "We are all African."

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    Whenever I see biology referred to as "simple,"
    snip

    "Biology" and "simple" don't go together.
    To set the record straight, Dingo used the word "simple" to describe the word knowledge, not the word biology.

    Sharon, you misquoted PNUTTRO who misquoted Dingo.

    Of course, my knowledge of biology is "simple" and I really dont understand both sides of the discussion/argument. Dingo makes a good case and I think I understand it. I'd like to hear PNUTTRO's take on it. Looks to much like throwing in the towel to stop discussing it over a "simple" issue (pardon the pun).

  5. #65
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    Simple math for illumination

    Pooka1

    2% to 3% of children have Scoliosis.
    Another way to think of Scoliosis is that the spine "subsystem" has failed to varying degrees.

    Children have a nervous system, a brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, etc etc. For arguments sake lets pretend that children rely on 50 subsystems for their health.

    If each of these 50 subsystems had a 2% failure rate due to heredity almost every child would be born with one system failure, i.e. health problem. Humans could not survive with that level of built in illness. Thankfully natural selection keeps us much healthier than that. This Wiki page contains a list of known genetic disorders. Click a link to any childhood disorder and try to find one that occurs in 2% or 3% of children. Most are extremely rare and many occur in 1 out of millions of children.

    Without doing any research should we suspect that a common childhood disorder like Scoliosis is a genetic disease?
    Although it's possible that children's spines are uniquely weak it's highly unlikely.
    You would have to guess that in all likelihood Scoliosis is not typically a genetic disease.

    OK, forget theory for a moment.
    Sickle Cell hits a couple of percent of children in the Malaria belt so it's possible that Scoliosis is a genetic disease and scientists should check.

    Let's do a twin study with a large, representative sample
    Scientists found that Scoliosis was only 13% concordant among identical twins and 0% concordant among fraternal twins. That's an extremely weak connection.

    The collected evidence suggests what natural selection also suggests. It is highly unlikely that Scoliosis is a genetic disease.
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-08-2009 at 06:05 PM.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dingo View Post
    The collected evidence suggests what natural selection also suggests. It is highly unlikely that Scoliosis is a genetic disease.
    So I guess that you dont think very much of the Axial Biotech test that is supposed to be coming out that is based on (or at least I thought it was based on) genetics. I mean, you make it sound so simple, but these phD guys in Utah are investing tons of money and I would guess that if it was pretty clear they were barking up the wrong tree, well, they wouldnt get the funding and they wouldnt be wasting their time.

    So, on one hand, the Occam's razor aspect of your argument is appealing. On the other, it cant be that straightforward, can it?

    Regarding natural selection, what if it was a recent mutation? Say 1000 generations ago. How would that effect your argument?

  7. #67
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    Axial Biotech

    concerned dad

    The Axial Biotech Scoliscore gene test can't determine whether a child will get Scoliosis or not. As I understand it the test looks for genetic markers to determine the likelihood that a curve will progress. Put simply kids with particular genes tend to "break" a certain way. It's likely that all disease processes are influenced by genetics so this might be a great test.

    If you gave 100 healthy kids the Scoliscore test many would probably be in the high risk group for progressive Scoliosis. If they had Scoliosis they might have severe curves. But these kids don't have Scoliosis and their backs would be perfectly straight.

  8. #68
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    Natural Selection

    concerned dad

    So, on one hand, the Occam's razor aspect of your argument is appealing. On the other, it cant be that straightforward, can it?

    Most of the time it is exactly that straight forward. The exceptions get the attention and there aren't many.

    Regarding natural selection, what if it was a recent mutation? Say 1000 generations ago. How would that effect your argument?

    In that case I'd expect to see Scoliosis hit a particular group hard and other groups maybe not at all. New genetic disorders have a hard time spreading around the globe but they can survive and even spread for a while in an isolated group that doesn't intermarry.

    Tay-Sachs disease hits Jewish people for this reason. Ultimately Tay-Sachs will die out but it may take a long time.

    In addition to that relatively new and common genetic diseases can spring up if there is a population bottleneck or because of a phenomenon called Founder Effect.

    But in both of these cases the disease stays in the group. Intermarriage and/or time tends to wipe out genetic disease.

    Scoliosis doesn't look anything like a genetic disease.

    It hits children before they've reproduced
    It hits 2% to 3% of the population which is particularly common
    It's widespread around the globe
    It has 13% MZ concordance and 0% DZ concordance which suggests that it occurs almost at random

    There isn't a single known genetic disease that looks anything like that.

    I was being extra generous when I said that hereditary Scoliosis might hit 1 child in 250. Realistically it's no more common than hereditary deafness which hits about 1 in 2,500. Most genetic disorders impact less than 1 in 10,000 or 20,000 children. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that hereditary Scoliosis was that rare.
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-08-2009 at 11:52 PM.

  9. #69
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    one last point

    For arguments sake let's pretend that I'm right. In most cases Scoliosis is not a genetic disease. It appears to have something to do with the nervous system and it's triggered by some type of environmental damage that we haven't been able to discover yet.

    What could that be?

    Scoliosis has been around for a long time.

    Can't be pollution
    Can't be pesticides
    Can't be vaccines or medicine

    The odds are good that Scoliosis is triggered by a microbe. What's left that hits that many kids around the world generation after generation? It would probably work like a cross between Poliomyelitis and Diabetes mellitus type 1. Time will tell if I'm correct but I'm pretty confident.

    Does this picture remind you of anything?
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-09-2009 at 12:30 AM.

  10. #70
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    Let me try one more time.

    All disease, has a genetic component and an environmental component. Geneticists have calculations that allow them to measure the contribution of
    genes to a specific phenotype. Everything else is environment. Genetic disorders fall into different categories.

    Does this fit your model so far? Maybe we are both saying the same thing. I'm not sure.

    The rare and usually fatal disorders affecting children are typically transmitted in a recessive fashion and a person only exhibits a symptoms when two people with the same allele have progeny. And then the two alleles must come together in the same individual. A perfect storm--so to speak. eg Tay Sach's and cystic fibrosis--which can be traced to a founder by the way. It doesn't mean that an allele disappears from a population. It always exists at a low frequency.

    Other disorders, such as NF2, have a dominant transmission

    Scoliosis doesn't fall into either of these categories. It behaves more like Type II diabetes where there are several genes that in combination contribute to the illness. But not every person with Type II diabetes has this predisposition either. Fortunately, we know a lot about sugar metabolism and how to control blood sugar.

    The way Karen described her family, there is likely to be a new mutation in her family that causes scoliosis. Your comments implied that a hypothetical scoliosis gene could not exist, simply isn't true. I wanted you to explain what you meant, not make a glib comment.

    You have been considering "environment" to be a limit set of factors--mostly pathogens. I think that this is faulty reasoning. I consider "environment" to be "life on this planet". Forgive me if it is vague, but it includes everything that I can't think of. Also, it gives me some leverage when someone tells me I am wrong.



    I will make one more assumption. I think you are young. I would guess less than 25. You can comment on that or not--doesn't matter.

    The axial test is bunk, in my opinion--it doesn't change anyone's outcome.

    The National Center for Biotechnology information has a great database called OMIM. Its kind of like Cribb notes for genes.

  11. #71
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    my age

    PNUTTRO

    I will make one more assumption. I think you are young. I would guess less than 25. You can comment on that or not--doesn't matter.

    I'm happy to accept the compliment but unfortunately I'm older than that. I'm 39.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned dad View Post
    To set the record straight, Dingo used the word "simple" to describe the word knowledge, not the word biology.

    Sharon, you misquoted PNUTTRO who misquoted Dingo.
    Neither biology itself, nor a knowledge of biology, assuming these are even different, is "simple."

    If any of it were simple, we wouldn't have so much work remaining in finding cures for various conditions.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  13. #73
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    genetics and environment

    All disease, has a genetic component and an environmental component.

    PNUTTRO is factually correct on that statement. All disease or for that matter all biological phenomenon that have ever occured on earth are the result of both genetic and environmental factors.

    Scoliosis has a 13% MZ (identical twin) and 0% DZ (fraternal twin) concordance rate which suggests an unusually low genetic contribution.

    MZ concordance for Scoliosis would need to be 4x higher to equal Tuberculosis (MZ 53, DZ 21) or Leprosy (MZ 59, DZ 10). Neither TB nor Leprosy are considered "genetic disorders", both are triggered by bacterium.

    While it is certainly possible that Karen's family shares a rare genetic mutation that triggers Scoliosis knowledgable scientists could offer other good explanations. I suspect that Scoliosis is triggered by infectious disease. If someday that is proven true it's easy to understand how one family might be hit hard by a disorder like Scoliosis.

    Polio by David Oshinsky

    "The message from Mapleton and Milwaukee was especially dire. Polio not only struck children individually, it devestated entire families as well."

    "Thomas Francis had studied a case in which five children from one family had contracted bulbar polio and three had died."
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-09-2009 at 11:43 AM.

  14. #74
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    Shattered Myths

    Shattered Myths

    OK, First you guys convince me we don’t know if bracing is effective, then you convince me that Scoliosis is not genetic. What’s next? Both of those things I just assumed was a given. You had best keep the Easter Bunny and Santa out of this.

    I suspect that a play on words is involved with both bracing and the genetic thing. We (may) know that bracing is effective at limiting curve progression but we don’t know if it limits the need for surgery.
    In the same way, you folks seem to be working in terms like “susceptibility gene” and “low genetic contribution” and “considered” a genetic disorder.

    So, am I correct to assume that in the same way bracing may “work” (ie, it may do something, whatever that something is), scoliosis is genetic (ie it HAS a genetic component, but maybe not enough of a component to be “considered” a genetic disorder). By my admittedly naive way of thinking, there is not much difference between a susceptibility gene for scoliosis and a scoliosis gene. Although I am guessing now that there is a big difference and there are implications which are beyond my ability to comprehend.

    I suppose I have to wonder just how large a genetic component is necessary before it is “considered” a genetic disorder. And just exactly, what ARE the implications. I would ask Karen: when you say you believe scoliosis is genetic, do you draw the distinction between a susceptibility gene and a scoliosis gene, or are you like me and sort of consider them basically the same?

    Finally, I understand now where P was coming from wrt taking offense at D’s “simple” comment. I wasn’t offended and I don’t think it was meant to be offensive. Whenever I hear someone say something like “it is obvious to the most casual observer” I can be fairly certain it is not going to be obvious to me.

    One more thing just for fun, regarding age, check out the attached.

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    Bracing I don't know but...

    concerned dad

    Bracing I'm not sure of. I would guess that it probably does work for some kids, especially those with small curves. But that's just my assumption.

    Genetics I'm sure of.
    Here is a simple way to think of a susceptability gene vs. a disease gene.

    A disease gene makes you sick, i.e. Sickle Cell

    A susceptability gene makes you susceptible to the thing that makes you sick, i.e. flu genes discovered

    An unlucky combination of "vulnerable" genes could explain why some people recover from the flu overnight and others struggle to shake off the virus for weeks.

    Finally, I understand now where P was coming from wrt taking offense at D’s “simple” comment.
    I think people tend to project their own feelings and motives onto other people's statements. I was trying to make a completely different point.

    I don't believe that Scoliosis is genetic. I strongly suspect it's triggered by infectious disease. I didn't arrive at those conclusions using any special scientific knowledge or skills. It took me a few hours plus a basic understanding of natural selection, mathematics and process of elimination.

    If the identical twin condordance rate for Scoliosis was 50% or 60% my opinion would be the same.
    Last edited by Dingo; 04-09-2009 at 02:06 PM.

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