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The Baylor Scoliosis Center is involved in ongoing research focused on improving the understanding of scoliosis, its origin and treatment. The Baylor Scoliosis Center works in conjunction with the Baylor Research Institute on developing new technology and treatment options for scoliosis.
Researchers continue to search for the source of scoliosis. They have learned that scoliosis is a polygenetic, inheritable disorder that affects collagen in a way that allows for progressive curvature. To learn more about scoliosis, scientists study heredity, growth, structural and biochemical changes in disks and muscles, and track changes in the nervous system. Scientists now believe that the changes seen in disks and muscles are a consequence of the disease and not the reason for the disease. Research is also under way to determine the effectiveness of various treatments.
In addition, physicians are studying individual patients' abilities to recover lost pulmonary and cardiac function after surgery to correct scoliosis. Physicians seek to more fully understand the psychological dimension of scoliosis pain by using psychometric testing to identify good candidates for surgery. By interviewing patients, they hope to learn how scoliosis surgery affects longevity and quality of life. Researchers would also like to demonstrate whether pulmonary hypertension can be managed or improved through surgery and the resulting change in chest wall configuration.
Researchers are currently working to unlock the genome that triggers the development of scoliosis, so physicians can predict the likelihood of progression and plan for early intervention.
There has been a recent explosion in the amount of research on scoliosis, both basic science and research into the cause of scoliosis and the clinical treatment. Scientific advances have brought about improved treatment options for scoliosis, including braceless care, and as research continues, new technologies should continue to emerge.
Researchers also seek to learn more about the basic molecular, hereditary and foundational roots of scoliosis. Future medical breakthroughs in scoliosis treatment may allow for early hereditary diagnosis and biopharmaceutical therapy of the development abnormalities that cause curvature of the spine. Researchers hope to soon eliminate the need of implanting metallic hardware in individuals' bodies to correct their curves with these new genetic diagnosing capabilities.
Scientists are still hopeful that studying changes in the central nervous system in people with idiopathic scoliosis may reveal a cause of this disorder.
Researchers continue to examine how a variety of braces, surgical procedures and surgical instruments can be used to straighten the spine or prevent further curvature. They are also studying the long-term effects of scoliosis fusion and of untreated scoliosis.
Baylor Scoliosis Center was awarded the Seeger grant for $140,000 by the Baylor Health Care System Foundation to help support the center's research efforts.
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