The third Interview with Dr. Clayton Stitzel about ScoliScore Testing and Neurotransmitter
What is ScoliScore Testing? Does every patient get tested?
Stitzel: ScoliScore is a saliva test for genetic pre-disposition that identifies 53 markers that are associated with severe scoliosis progression. “Test-able” patients have to be between the ages of 9-14, non-Asian (unique genetic markers for scoliosis), and have a curve between 10-25°. They can be male or female and about 15% of the “ScoliScore” (0-200) is based off the genetic markers and 15% is based off other measures like age, cobb angle, ect.
How does the testresults influence the treatment of the patient?
Stitzel: I can’t speak for how it influences the treatment protocols for other doctors, but we find that it allows us to “gage” the most appropriate level of treatment invasiveness for the patient prior to the curve progressing. For example, a patient with a very high ScoliScore (<180 out of 200) may elected to have a minimally invasive, non-fusion procedure like vertebral body stapling or tethering done in anticipation of a major growth spurt. Likewise, a patient with a low ScoliScore (>50) may choose to only engage in a rehab based program like the Scoliosis BootCamp program to minimize curve progression risk. We have even developed an alternate treatment model flow chart based off the patient’s ScoliScore, rather than Cobb angle, witch is much more accurate. I have provided images for of both the ScoliScore directed treatment model and the Cobb angle vs ScoliScore curve prediction graph.
One part of your treatment is “neurotransmitter-rebalancing”.
What are neurotransmitter? Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in your brain that allow your brain and body to communicate with each other. Serotonin, Melatonin, and Norepinephrine are some of the more common ones people have heard of.
How do neurotransmitter imbalances relate to scoliosis? How does “neurotransmitter-rebalancing” work?
Our research has uncovered a common pattern of neurotransmitter imbalance in scoliosis patients that seems to revolve around the Serotonin-Melatonin conversion pathway, which is especially significant given the compelling research linking Melatonin to the development of idiopathic scoliosis in adolescent patients.
Re-balancing neurotransmitters is a very safe and simple process involving mostly specific amino acid supplements. The trick is doing the testing to identify the imbalances and making the appropriate recommendations.
What kind of supplements do the patients take?
Generally amino acids, but sometimes specific enzymes, minerals, or vitamins may be required to increase absorption or active a specific conversion pathway.
How long do patients need to take the supplements?
Most patients will need to take them for 4-6 months before re-testing and further recommendations can be made at that time based off the new testing information.
Do adult patients also have unbalanced neurotransmitters? Would you recommend “neurotransmitter-testing” and an supplementation for adults,too?
I’m sure they do have imbalances. We haven’t done enough work with the testing and treatment to know how much benefit it may have for adult patients, but there is certainly no downside to having your scoliosis specific neurotransmitters in balance, so I don’t see the harm.
Are there any studies about the correlation of Neurotransmitter imbalances and scoliosis?
ScoliSMART Clinics are really the ones to bring this new information and technology into the field of scoliosis treatment, so the published research is limited, but we do have a peer reviewed study comparing to groups who went through treatment (one with re-balancing, one without) programs in one of our offices that should be published literally any day now. Also, Dr. Mark Morningstar has presented his findings at the 2013 Chicago SOSORT conference and even done some lectures that are available on YouTube http://youtu.be/9EJWKHi0_80
German version: http://meinskoliosebootcamp.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/scoliscore-test-neurotransmitter/