The possibility of using learned physiological responses in control of progressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) was investigated. Sixteen (16) AIS patients with progressing or high-risk curves (Cobb's angle between 25 degrees and 35 degrees at start and reducible by lateral bending) were fitted with a device with tone alarm for poor posture. In the first 18 months of application, 3 patients defaulted and 4 showed curve progression > 10 degrees (2 changed to rigid spinal orthoses and 2 underwent surgery). The curves for the other 9 patients were kept under control (within +/- 5 degrees of Cobb's angle) and 5 of them have reached skeletal maturity and terminated the application. The remaining 4 patients were still using the devices until skeletal maturity or curve progression. The curve control rate was 69%. A long-lasting active spinal control could be achieved through the patient's own spinal muscles. Nevertheless, before the postural training device could become a treatment modality, a long-term study for more AIS patients was necessary. This project is ongoing in the Duchess of Kent Children's Hospital, Sandy Bay, Hong Kong.
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