What is the pathophysiology of idiopathic scoliosis?

Updated: Dec 02, 2020
  • Author: Charles T Mehlman, DO, MPH; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Much has been written regarding the potential influence of melatonin on the development of idiopathic scoliosis. [25, 26] This has largely originated from studies in which the pineal gland was removed in chickens and scoliosis developed. These same studies suggested that the melatonin deficiency following pinealectomy might be the underlying reason for the development of scoliosis.

Bagnall et al studied pinealectomized chickens to which they administered therapeutic doses of melatonin. [27] They were unable to demonstrate any ability of the melatonin to prevent the development of scoliosis. It is fair to say that no final answer is yet available.

Some authors have suggested that a posterior column lesion within the central nervous system might be present in patients who have idiopathic scoliosis. [28, 29] Such central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction was hypothesized to be manifested as decreased vibratory sensation.

McInnes et al later pointed out that the vibration device used in earlier studies (a Bio-Thesiometer) did not demonstrate sufficient reliability characteristics to allow valid conclusions. [30] This line of research might be attractive to those who feel that a postural disturbance is the root cause of scoliosis.

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