June 4, 2012
Back Brace That Can Measure How Long It Has Been Worn
Scoliosis (curvature of the spine) affects three or four per thousand children and as many as seven out of ten older adults. While there is still controversy about the efficacy of back braces for children this is often considered a problem of compliance — if the children do not wear their braces the treatment does not work. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Scoliosis demonstrates that a brace that contains a tiny heat sensor and is able to monitor how long it is worn, and that kids are also happy to wear, means that overall compliance with doctors recommended prescription was over 90%.
In many cases of childhood scoliosis, treatment is not required because the condition corrects itself as the child grows. However for the remainder their scoliosis can be successfully treated using a back brace, or in severe cases surgery, which prevents the spine from curving further. While a brace is worn under their clothes and should not stop the child from joining in sports or any other activities nevertheless it can still be difficult to persuade a child that the brace must be worn for all the hours prescribed by their doctor.
Dr Sabrina Donzelli, who led this research, explained, "It is difficult to compare this study to others because all the families involved knew that the child was using a Thermobrace. Consequently, although there was some overestimation their self reported times for wearing the brace were very similar to the actual time measured by the brace. However we were able to demonstrate that children can be persuaded to wear their back braces as long as they have enough help and support."
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