An investigation into the determinants of scoliosis induction and progression, and its impact on older children, using a large prospective population-based cohort

Aims of the study:

The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a novel method of identifying scoliosis using total body dual energy X-ray absorptiometric (DXA) scans.

Outcome of research:

With BSRF funding, Dr Emma Clark and her team developed and validated a new method for identifying scoliosis using Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), called the DXA Scoliosis Method (DSM). A DXA scan involves aiming two X-ray beams at a patient’s bones and is normally used to measure bone density.

Dr Clark is currently underway on a second project also funded by the BSRF to develop research software that can automatically analyse large cohorts of spinal DXA scans from a number of studies across the UK. Using this data, scoliosis prevalence in various age groups will be measured. In this way a valuable resource of untapped information that has already been acquired (DXA scans from previous research studies) can be used to provide important statistics on scoliosis prevalence rates, which are poorly documented in the UK. This data could then be used to generate a testable prediction tool for scoliosis initiation/progression in the future.



Identifying Scoliosis in Population-Based Cohorts: Development and Validation of a Novel Method Based on Total-Body Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometric Scans. Hilary J. Taylor, Ian Harding, John Hutchinson, Ian Nelson, Ashley Blom, Jon H. Tobias, Emma M. Clark. Calcified Tissue International, June 2013, Volume 92, Issue 6, pp 539-547
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Association Between Components of Body Composition and Scoliosis: A Prospective Cohort Study Reporting Differences Identifiable Before the Onset of Scoliosis. Clark EMTaylor HJHarding IHutchinson JNelson IDeanfield JNess ARTobias JHJ Bone Miner Res. 2014 Feb 24. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2207.
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Calcified Tissue International, June 2013, Volume 92, Issue 6, pp 539-547


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