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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' ability 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.
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