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Altered sensory-weighting mechanisms is observed in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis

Author(s): Simoneau Martin | Mercier Pierre | Blouin Jean | Allard Paul | Teasdale Normand

Journal: BMC Neuroscience
ISSN 1471-2202

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 68;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Background Scoliosis is the most common type of spinal deformity. In North American children, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) makes up about 90% of all cases of scoliosis. While its prevalence is about 2% to 3% in children aged between 10 to 16 years, girls are more at risk than boys for severe progression with a ratio of 3.6 to 1. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that idiopathic scoliosis interferes with the mechanisms responsible for sensory-reweighting during balance control. Methods Eight scoliosis patients (seven female and one male; mean age: 16.4 years) and nine healthy adolescents (average age 16.5 years) participated in the experiment. Visual and ankle proprioceptive information was perturbed (eyes closed and/or tendon vibration) suddenly and then returned to normal (eyes open and/or no tendon vibration). An AMTI force platform was used to compute centre of pressure root mean squared velocity and sway density curve. Results For the control condition (eyes open and no tendon vibration), adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients had a greater centre of pressure root mean squared velocity (variability) than control participants. Reintegration of ankle proprioception, when vision was either available or removed, led to an increased centre of pressure velocity variability for the adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients whereas the control participants reduced their centre of pressure velocity variability. Moreover, in the absence of vision, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis exhibited an increased centre of pressure velocity variability when ankle proprioception was returned to normal (i.e. tendon vibration stopped). The analysis of the sway density plot suggests that adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients, during sensory reintegration, do not scale appropriately their balance control commands. Conclusion Altogether, the present results demonstrate that idiopathic scoliosis adolescents have difficulty in reweighting sensory inputs following a brief period of sensory deprivation.

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