Two vastly different types of scoliosis were allowed in the study: adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and degenerative scoliosis.
Idiopathic scoliosis usually has at least two curves and typically shows up during the teenage years, hence the “adolescent” part of the diagnosis. Degenerative scoliosis usually shows up after the age of 40 and is oftentimes associated with osteoporosis and a single curve.
Of the 19 active participants in the study, seven patients had two curves. This means that seven patients with had idiopathic scoliosis and 12 patients with a single curve had degenerative scoliosis. Therefore, less than half of the study participants had idiopathic scoliosis. However, most of the news coverage stated that this research was applicable for people with idiopathic scoliosis. The majority of the participants didn’t even have idiopathic scoliosis so that claim isn’t valid.
Of the seven people that had idiopathic scoliosis, the curvatures in their initial x-rays ranged from 6 to 43 degrees. Of the 12 people with degenerative scoliosis, their initial curves ranged from 10 to 120 degrees. Even though there were a few low numbers in the degenerative group, their degree of curvature was much higher on average than those with idiopathic scoliosis. That’s a huge discrepancy in curvature that makes it hard to draw comparisons.