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Chiropractic Research Review

MRI Detection of Functional Disorders in Scoliosis Patients

Various types of neurologic dysfunction have been reported in scoliosis patients. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has provided insight into potential associations between adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) and a number of functional disorders.

In a study designed to "correlate the presence of structural abnormalities with somatosensory-evoked potential-detected functional disorders in the hind brain and spinal cord," posterior tibial nerve-evoked potentials and whole-spine MRI were performed in three study populations: 135 AIS patients with Cobbs angle <45°; 29 AIS patients with Cobb's angle >45°; and 36 healthy control subjects.

Functional disorders (tonsillar ectopia or syringomyelia, detected by MRI, or functional disturbance in the somatosensory pathway, detected by somatosensory-evoked potentials) were significantly more frequent in patients with severe scoliosis curvature.

The authors note that "somatosensory-evoked potentials and magnetic resonance imaging may have important diagnostic and predictive value and may help in the management of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis."

Note: Understanding that there may be a link between idiopathic scoliosis and significant structural abnormalities of the hind brain and spinal cord may help chiropractors exercise more caution when managing these patients.

Cheng JCY, Guo X, Sher AHL, et al. Correlation between curve severity, somatosensory evoked potentials, and magnetic resonance imaging in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Spine, August 15, 1999:24(16), pp1679-84.

Chiropractic Research Review

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