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Genetic Testing Predicts the
Risk of and Progression of Scoliosis


Dr. Clayton J. Stitzel


November 9, 2021

Advancements in genetic identification/interpretation may allow opportunities for the prevention of scoliosis. Combined with clinical testing, and all natural nutrient therapies, may stop scoliosis curves.

Genetic Identification & Interpretation of Variants Related to Idiopathic Scoliosis

Most orthopedic scoliosis specialists agree idiopathic scoliosis is more than only a spine condition. It extends beyond the spinal curvature, which is the primary symptom of the condition. Centuries of family history show a genetic predisposition to idiopathic scoliosis.  It is not related to a single gene.  Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the result of specific patterns of genetic defects.

More recent and advanced understanding of genetic predispositions reveals genetic insights. These are far more complex than mere dominant and recessive genetic heritage. In fact, it is now clear there is no “scoliosis gene” per se. In fact, the scoliosis condition seems to be a result of many genetic variants, or defects. These impact the genetic performance (increased or decreased). These alterations to the metabolic pathways create the neuro-hormonal problems that cause idiopathic scoliosis.

Advancements in genetic identification/interpretation, clinical testing, and non-invasive metabolic interventions may allow opportunities for the prevention of scoliosis.

Table of Contents

Genetic testing services like 23andMe and Ancestry provide accurate and affordable genetic testing.  But, no scoliosis genetic interpretation. These testing services are actually testing genetic SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms).  These are looking for known variants, or typos, which affect the gene’s performance. These tests are accurate in detecting the presence of these SNPs.  But, they do not tell you how severe the defects are, or to which metabolic processes they involve. Receive free recommendations on how genetic testing is making early stage scoliosis intervention possible sent to your email.

Some online genetic interpretation services like LiveWello or Genetic Genie, have popped up to fill the void. Yet, they do not solve the complex issue of determining metabolic severity of the detected genetic SNP variant. 

Very significant privacy concerns exist as big pharmaceutical companies are forming business relationships with many of these personal genetic testing companies. ScoliSMART provides a privacy guarantee for all genetic data collected by our testing.

Targeted clinical testing is often based on genetic interpretation. This is necessary for confirmation and to determine metabolic severity of genetic SNP defects. 

Often, genetic testing that identifies SNP variants warrants extra clinical testing. Genetic testing tells us where to look for problems.  It provides little information on how severe the problem is and how it is affecting the person. It is not uncommon for a person’s body to create compensation mechanisms or alternative metabolic pathways.  This can only be assessed with very targeted urine or blood testing. There are hundreds of clinical tests available. Hormonebone, and neurotransmitter production are the most critical for determining the impact of genetic SNP variations in scoliosis patients.

Hormone Testing for Scoliosis

Scoliosis development and curve progression occurs during periods of rapid growth in adolescent patients.  Particularly with the introduction of estrogen in female patients. Idiopathic scoliosis affects adolescent females at a rate 7 times that of males. Many have speculated this may be due to a mistiming of spinal cord length related to the increase in spinal elongation due to rapid growth.  

Adult scoliosis progression correlates with the absence of estrogen as patients enter menopause. Thus, we see significant curve progression in female patients when estrogen starts and ends throughout the patient’s life cycle. 

It seems unlikely anything is dysfunctional with the estrogen hormone itself. Female adolescent scoliosis patients generally do not display any other symptoms of estrogen dysfunction.  It may be  more related to the progesterone to estrogen balance. Clinical testing of hormones for scoliosis determines the balance of estrogen in relation to other sex hormones.  This could provide critical insight to the cause and progression of teenage scoliosis. Adult patients with scoliosis may also use hormone testing for scoliosis.  Preventing post-menopause curve progression and improving other menopause-related symptoms. 

The ScoliSMART hormone testing for scoliosis is a simple home-collection saliva test mailed straight to the lab for analysis.

Neurotransmitter Testing for Scoliosis

Neurotransmitters are the chemical signals that allow your brain and body to communicate with each other. The human body makes many different neurotransmitters. ScoliSMART has identified 4 specific neurotransmitters (serotonin, glutamate, norepinephrine, and histamine) and 3 patterns of neurotransmitter imbalances that relate to idiopathic scoliosis. These patterns of neurotransmitter imbalances may be the result of poor diet, genetics, or inflammation causing absorption problems.

Clinical data suggests improved neurotransmitter levels have a significant impact on patient outcomes. Both in scoliosis rehabilitation programs, and it could also lower the risk of further curve progression during growth. 

Monitoring neurotransmitter imbalances could be a quick, cheap, non-invasive way of predicting curve progression. Besides a positive effect on the scoliosis condition, adolescent and adult patients alike report improvements in:

  • energy levels
  • mood
  • and quality of sleep when neurotransmitter levels are balanced. 

ScoliSMART offers scoliosis-specific neurotransmitter testing with a home-collection urine test mailed straight to the lab.

Treating Scoliosis with Nutrient Therapies

Genetic testing can tell us where to look for the most likely underlying causes of idiopathic scoliosis and its progression. Targeted clinical testing can tell us how severe those underlying issues are affecting the patient. Nutrient therapies are an opportunity to use this very specific information to alter the natural course of the idiopathic scoliosis condition. 

Non-drug nutrient therapies support, re-balance, or replace neurotransmitters, hormones, or other activator molecules in scoliosis. Often, patients are genetically unable to produce normal amounts. The nutrient therapies often consist of precursor molecules in the form of:

  • amino acids,
  • enzyme activators,
  • or metabolic end products

Most scoliosis patients cannot produce these on their own.

In certain cases, lifestyle modifications may be recommended to aid and assist the nutrient therapies, such as limiting dietary gluten or dairy products. 

Genetic guided clinical testing and non-drug nutrient therapies are a new and innovative approach for adolescent and adult patients.  Both should consider including it as part of their whole treatment strategy. This new approach, designed to target the underlying metabolic issues associated with idiopathic scoliosis, is the first attempt to reach the whole scoliosis condition and not only the spinal curve.  

Don’t know where to start?  Take our FREE “ScoliQuiz.”  (No x-ray required)

ScoliSMART Clinics is committed to treating the WHOLE scoliosis condition, not only the curve. Genetic & clinical testing with targeted nutrient therapies, expert in-office treatment programs, and the world’s only ScoliSMART Activity Suit provides patients of all ages with the most comprehensive, most effective, and least invasive treatment options available worldwide.

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