There is now a saliva test that can help determine whether a child with scoliosis needs to wear a brace. It can save some children from the unnecessary hardship of wearing the brace through their early adolescent years. Called ScoliScore, the test looks at various chromosomal markers in saliva and uses a formula to assess a patient's chance of developing severe scoliosis. Possible scores range from zero to 200, with a score of 200 signaling a very high likelihood that a patient's scoliosis will become severe.

Right now, the test is approved only for use in a narrow subset of patients-Caucasian girls and boys ages nine to 13 who have adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and whose curves are currently between 10° and 25°. Children with very low scores on the test can skip bracing because their spinal curves are unlikely to progress. Those with midrange scores may indeed benefit from bracing. Those with high scores do not need to wear a brace because it would offer no benefit-their curves are very likely to progress within a few years to the point where surgery is necessary. Bracing would not simplify or delay surgery, so it is best to spare these children the emotional impact of wearing a brace.

The ScoliScore test is now widely available. It is usually covered by insurance.

Millions Misdiagnosed With ADHD

Children who are the youngest in their grades are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than older children in the same grade. ADHD symptoms are synonymous with immaturity-the inability to stay on task, being "squirmy," etc.

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