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View Full Version : A Few Years Away from A Blood Test



MATJESNIC
05-10-2006, 05:51 PM
Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to share something that two different orthopedic surgeons told me in two different countries. We are not that far off from a blood test that will reveal who will be getting large curves and whose curves will be destined to be little. It has something to do with enzymes in the blood. With that knowledge, there will be less guesswork involved with who to brace, who to wait and see, who to perform surgery on. If the doctors know you will eventually have a large curve that won't be helped with bracing, they can do the surgery sooner than later.

Sorry if this info sounds very simplified. It was actually a brief conversation that I had with two separate orthos. I have no medical background. Just a 12-year old daughter with 2 curves.

But it sure sounds encouraging.

Melissa

katblack
05-10-2006, 06:46 PM
That's truly interesting. I love medical science!
It would be fantastic if we could actually do this type of stuff at birth, to see what our children may suffer from in the future but at the same time, how frightening to know that they would face it.

I'm all for testing and experiments to help cure future diseases.
Wouldn't it be cool if we could see this test as our kids are babies and then through stem cells possibly, be able to prevent the curves.

Great stuff! Thanks for posting it!

The Professor
05-11-2006, 07:26 PM
This sounds like wishful thinking to me. There are many groups here in the US and abroad working on isolating a "scoliosis gene." Even if they do find one gene variant that can cause scoliosis, it will probably only account for <1% of identifiable cases.

In reality, there's probably a myriad of mutations in a huge number of genes that any one or combination thereof could produce scoliosis. In other words, even if one is identified and tested for, there's still going to be a lot of people who test negative who nonetheless develop scoliosis.

A better understanding of scoliosis will probably come from basic scientific research on the relationship between spinal loading, vertebral body growth, and extracellular matrix remodeling in the intervertebral discs.

cherylplinder
05-11-2006, 08:31 PM
The physicians referred to by Melissa are considered the best in both countries. I wouldn't put much stock in very many physicians, but those two, I would bet, know what they are talking about. They are cutting edge orthopedic surgeons.

katblack
05-11-2006, 08:43 PM
Even if it is wishful thinking today, it may someday be a reality which would be cool.

Scientific research can do so much and has done already.

MATJESNIC
05-12-2006, 05:56 AM
Like I said before, it wasn't a detailed, in-depth conversation that I had with these orthopedics. It was just something that they each brought up on their own when we were discussing all of the unknowns for my daughter. It sounded as if this could be a major breakthrough, not just something to help 1% of the population. It's time we had a breakthrough for scoliosis.

Melissa

The Professor
05-13-2006, 06:43 PM
Like I said before, it wasn't a detailed, in-depth conversation that I had with these orthopedics. It was just something that they each brought up on their own when we were discussing all of the unknowns for my daughter. It sounded as if this could be a major breakthrough, not just something to help 1% of the population. It's time we had a breakthrough for scoliosis.

Melissa
I still disagree. It's extremely improbable that a single gene could be behind more than 1-2% of congenital scoliosis cases. Just ask anyone here about their particular case-- they're all so vastly different that the cause is most likely very different in almost every case. Sure, they'll be able to test for a few gene alleles that have links to scoliosis, but (1) just because you have that particular gene doesn't mean you'll get scoliosis, nor will the curve be predictable, and (2) just because you don't have that gene doesn't mean that you won't get scoliosis or are even at a lower risk for scoliosis.

If you're unsure of what I mean, try looking at the genes that they've identified as being linked to colon cancer, such as APC. The APC allele that's linked to colon cancer only increases the risk of developing it, and still only accounts for about 5-10% of cases.

It's going to be basic research regarding bone/cartilage growth and remodeling, intervertebral disc function, extracellular matrix remodeling, and causes and effects of prolonged asymmetrical spinal column loading that will ultimately be of more benefit to scoliois patients.

cherylplinder
05-13-2006, 11:35 PM
Melissa didn't say gene testing, she said enzymes in the blood, which is quite different. You could be right if they were referring to genetic testing. Or..........you could be wrong. :D

The Professor
05-14-2006, 12:02 PM
Melissa didn't say gene testing, she said enzymes in the blood, which is quite different. You could be right if they were referring to genetic testing. Or..........you could be wrong. :D
I'm still skeptical. Not every case is going to manifest itself with the same symptoms. They're probably relying on the observation that many with scoliosis appear to have some level of chronic inflammation, which can sometimes be measured through blood tests. Inflammation cascades don't always result in the same enzymes being activated, and don't always spread to the blood stream.
For example, inflammation in the intervertebral disks probably wouldn't be easily picked up in the blood in many cases, because the disks do not have a blood supply.
I'll wait until they publish the paper and we'll see how convincing the science is.

cherylplinder
05-15-2006, 11:16 PM
I doubt that they are referring to inflammatory reactions. I am well aware of the different pathways that occur in inflammation. I, like you, doubt that any inflammatory markers could be in any way diagnostic for scoliosis. These physicians would not be referring to anything that general. We'll wait on the paper and hope that the results are very informative and helpful.