Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

MRI Shows Back Trouble May Begin Before Puberty

Date:
December 2, 2003
Source:
Radiological Society Of North America
Summary:
Disc degeneration, typically associated with adulthood, may actually have its beginnings at a young age. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies of the spines of 154 children in northeastern Scotland found that 14 children (9 percent) had abnormalities in at least one of their intervertebral discs – the backbone's "shock absorber." MR imaging was performed on the 10-year-olds as part of a larger study exploring causes of spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal.

CHICAGO – Disc degeneration, typically associated with adulthood, may actually have its beginnings at a young age. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies of the spines of 154 children in northeastern Scotland found that 14 children (9 percent) had abnormalities in at least one of their intervertebral discs – the backbone's "shock absorber." MR imaging was performed on the 10-year-olds as part of a larger study exploring causes of spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal.

Related Articles


"We found degenerative changes in the spine much earlier than we ever would have suspected," said lead author Francis W. Smith, M.D., consultant radiologist and sports medicine physician at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland. "This study revises our thoughts on when we should begin preventive back care. Proactive steps should begin early in life, even before puberty."

Dr. Smith presented the findings today at the 89th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Intervertebral discs are round, spongy pads of cartilage that sit between the vertebrae, cushioning the backbone as the body moves. With normal aging, the elastic core of the disc solidifies, contributing to a gradual loss of flexibility in the back. Fissures and cracks within the discs may also occur, allowing the gel-filled interior to bulge and extend into the spinal canal, occasionally irritating the nerve root.

The 14 degenerated discs found by Dr. Smith and colleagues showed signs of early bulging or tearing. All were located in the lower, or lumbar, region of the spine. None of the children in the study – 79 girls, 75 boys – had ever suffered from lower back or leg pain. Disc degeneration may alter the mechanical architecture of the back, predisposing to muscle and ligament sprains and strains, as well as arthritis of the spinal joints. This points out that disc degeneration is not necessarily associated with back pain, and may begin in early childhood.

"There is no history of poor nutrition, obesity or other known disease in these children," Dr. Smith said. "We suspect there may be genetic causes, although unrecognized trauma in sports or at play could also be a cause."

Lower back problems affect millions of adults. In the United Kingdom, 3 million workdays were lost in 2002 due to lower back pain, according to the National Health Service. In the United States, back pain is the second most common cause of lost work, following the common cold, according to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on lower back pain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Proper back care, according to Dr. Smith, should include learning about correct posture and how to stretch the back, as well as being physically active. Dr. Smith and his fellow researchers plan to conduct a follow-up study on these same children in 10 years to help determine whether early disc abnormalities worsen or stay the same as an individual ages.

Co-authors of the study are Janet E. Jeffrey, M.Sc., and Richard W. Porter, M.D.

###

RSNA is an association of more than 35,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists and related scientists committed to promoting excellence in radiology through education and by fostering research, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radiological Society Of North America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Radiological Society Of North America. "MRI Shows Back Trouble May Begin Before Puberty." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031202070438.htm>.
Radiological Society Of North America. (2003, December 2). MRI Shows Back Trouble May Begin Before Puberty. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031202070438.htm
Radiological Society Of North America. "MRI Shows Back Trouble May Begin Before Puberty." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031202070438.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) — AbbVie announced Wednesday it will buy cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins