By Hokkaido University | November 21, 2016
Image analyses of idiopathic scoliosis sufferers using a three-dimensional, back-surface-symmetry-recognition system Top: images of a case in which a patient is to be treated with a brace. The thoracic vertebra curves by 34 degrees. Bottom: images of a case in which a patient requires surgery. The thoracic vertebra curves by 60 degrees. (a): a three-dimensional image of the back’s surface (b): based on image (a), the system evaluates the degree to which a patient’s back deviates from the ideal symmetry for a human back within a few seconds. The larger the deviation, the deeper the color. (c): comparison to X-ray photos. Deviations in the image correspond with curvatures. (Credit: Hokkaido University/Noa Co., Ltd.)
Hokkaido University researchers have developed a symmetry-recognition system for the surface of the human back that can three-dimensionally detect the early stages of idiopathic scoliosis, a type of spinal deformity, without the help of a specialist doctor.
Individuals with idiopathic scoliosis, many of whom are pubescent girls, suffer from serious curvature of the spine. The disease has a characteristically high affliction rate, affecting one in 50 people.
Early detection of the progressive ailment is regarded as essential for treatment, as it is effective to wear a special brace when the spine is curved by 30 degrees or more. In recent years, genetic study of the disease has progressed, boosting the development of treatments.