New Test Brings New Hope For Scoliosis Patients

Thursday, September 30th 2010, 5:21 pm
By: News On 6

By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6

TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- A new genetic test can now give some Scoliosis patients a glimpse at their condition years down the road.

The only place in the state of Oklahoma that offers the test is in Tulsa.  The test, called the ScoliScore Prognostic Test, is the first of its kind and only takes seconds to complete, after a painless and easy first step.

By simply spitting in a tube, a scoliosis patient can find out whether their spine curvature will worsen.

"I was very excited about it," said Dr. Bernard Fuh, Chiropractor, Advanced Spinal Health.

Dr. Fuh is one of only two doctors in Oklahoma who currently offers it.

"Now the easy way is to just come right in and get the test and maybe one or two films to confirm the test," he said.

Scoliosis occurs when the spine forms a C or an S shaped curve. The ScoliScore Test looks for 53 known genetic DNA markers for scoliosis progression.

The doctor sends the saliva sample to the manufacturer and the analysis comes back within 10 days, assigning a number from 1 to 200 to the patient. The higher the number, the greater chance of severe progression.

"If it's going to be worse, I need to be doing something about it right now, whether I need to see a surgeon right now and immediately get a consult right now or get it down to a non-aggressive range to where it's not a big problem," said Dr. Fuh.

This test is so new that Dr. Fuh has only used it on one patient.

"It ended up that this individual was very high risk and so the intervention needs to be immediate," he said.

Right now, the test is only for Caucasian scoliosis patients between 9 and 13 years old with a 10 to 25 degree spinal curve.

The manufacturer of the Scoliscore Prognostic Test claims it has a 99 percent accuracy rate. According to the bio-tech's website, because this is a new technology, most insurance companies have not come up with coverage policies for the test yet.