Scoliosis may be linked to essential mineral, study suggests: 5 insights

Shayna Korol -   Print  |

An inability to fully utilize manganese may cause some cases of severe adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, according to a study in Nature Communications.

Here are five things to know:

1. Researchers found children with severe scoliosis are twice as likely as normal children to have a gene variant that adversely impacts manganese usage.

2. Study authors performed an exome-wide association study of 457 severe AIS cases and 987 controls. They found a variant in the SLC39A8 gene in only 6 percent of the healthy patients but in 12 percent of the severe AIS cases.

3. A second analysis in a separate group of 1,095 controls and 841 moderate-to-severe AIS cases found children with scoliosis were approximately twice as likely to have the gene variant.

4. Researchers bred zebrafish with a disabled SLC39A8 gene. The fish developed skeletal abnormalities, including spinal curvatures.

5. The study links scoliosis to a potentially modifiable dietary element. "But we don't want people to go out right now and start manganese supplements, because we already know that too much manganese can be harmful," said Christina Gurnett, MD, PhD, the study's senior author and a neurology, orthopedic surgery and pediatrics professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

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