Understanding the cause of a disease or disorder is key to developing effective and humane strategies for early intervention and treatment. School screening programs have made it possible to demonstrate the high prevalence of childhood scoliosis, worldwide, and to reliably identify spinal curvatures early in the disease process before progression to a fixed structural deformity. Unfortunately, effective early interventions have not been established. Developing strategies to prevent scoliosis has been compromised, in general, by lack of understanding of its causes on a case by case basis. Information about genetic loci associated with disorders including scoliosis is emerging rapidly, since completion of the human genome sequence in 2003. These data can be used to identify children at high risk for developing spinal deformities and to design strategies for prevention.
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