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Health Watch: DNA Scoliosis Test

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Children diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, faced an uncertain future until now. Instead of constant testing, there’s a new way to predict how the disease will progress.

Nikki Koval is an active 11-year-old from Bucks County. Running around and playing sports.

“I play soccer, basketball, and horse back riding,” said Nikki, who was recently diagnosed with mild scoliosis. “I was a little scared at first.”

And until now, there was no way to tell how bad the scoliosis would get. Nikki was facing the possibility of maybe having to wear a brace or have surgery, and endless testing.

Dr. Suken Shah at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children says there’s now a quick and easy way to better predict the future of scoliosis patients.

It’s a saliva based DNA scoliosis test called SCOLISCORE.

“It’s a huge test. Now we can treat those patients that need to be treated, and ones that are going to stay mild we can let them go on and live their normal lives, and not have to be subjected to repeat x-rays and doctor’s visits.

Patients like Nikki provide a saliva sample that’s then sent to a lab and her DNA is compared to other DNA with known scoliosis markers.

The patient is then given a score.

“If your risk score is one to 50 you have a 99 percent chance of that curve not progressing to a severe curve. And that’s very key. And that’s the vast majority of patients tested,” said Dr. Shah.

Nikki found out she is at low risk for progression, and no longer has to worry about having to give up being active.

“I was really relieved,” said Nikki.

The scoliosis test is currently for certain children between the age of 9 and 13, and is covered by most insurance. Dr. Shaw is a consultant to the distributer of the test.

Reported By: Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

Scoliosis Information

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  • Megan

    Nikki hope this doesn’t effect your my bff!!! see you at school

  • grace kane

    she goes to my school!! luv ya nikki!<333333

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