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disease of the spine - help!!

Partap S Khalsa pkhalsa at wpi.WPI.EDU
Tue Sep 28 10:48:43 EST 1993

In article <ewass-270993170427 at hmc25.ninds.nih.gov> ewass at helix.nih.gov (Eric Wassermann) writes:
>In article <dorene-240993142114 at bsd-mac11.bsd.uchicago.edu>,
>dorene at delphi.bsd.uchicago.edu (Dorene E. Besser) wrote:

>> that her new daughter-in-law has, as her mother put it, a slight case of
>> spina bifida, and scoliosis (is it possible to have a slight case of either
>> of these?).  She is very concerned, obviously, and she asked me if I might
>> post an article to pick your (the experts) brains about these two
>> 'conditions'.  I realize that it is more of a spinal question, but I was
>> hoping that it may also deal with neurology - since there aren't any spinal
>> categories, I thought I'd try my luck.  

>Spina bifida is near the severe extreme on a spectrum of disorders
>collectively called spinal dysraphism.  These are congenital problems
>caused by defective fusion of the neural tube during early gestation. 
>Milder forms may be detected only the presence of a dimple in the skin of
>the lower back or have an surgically correctable defect in the spine (not
>the spinal cord).  More severe forms are obviously quite serious and
>usually result in paralysis of the legs or may be seen in in combination
>with congnenital disorders of the skull and brain.  
>There is no real reason for concern since usually most of these conditions
>are present at birth and only some of them worsen with time and this is
>usually during growth of the spine.  It is not hereditary and looks as
>though it can be prevented by taking vitamin D (or A, I forget) during the
>earliest time of pregnancy.  Hope this helps.
>                                      As far as I know,
>Eric Wassermann                       The opinions expressed are not
>Human Motor Control Section           those of the Federal Government,
>NINDS, NIH                            the U.S. Public Health Service

In my clinical practice over the past 14 years, I have fairly routinely
encountered persons with spina bifida. Simply, when a spinous process (the
bump you feel when you run your hand down your spine) doesn't ossify into
one process, but instead develops into two processes, a person has spina
bifida. People who have s.b. also have a higher incidence of scoliosis. This
is usually a very benign condition only discovered incidentally to some other
problem that a person is seeking help for. It can be quite severe, but this
is typically discovered soon after birth.

You may find this problem discussed in almost any orthopedic textbook that
covers spinal problems (e.g. Turek's).

Partap S. Khalsa, MS, DC, FACO
Univ. of Mass. Med. School

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