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September 26, 1977


JAMA. 1977;238(13):1412-1413. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280140090038

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Scoliosis ranks as a distressingly common cause of deformity during childhood and adolescence. In this era, as screening of all children for this aberration sweeps the country, a lucid summary of relevant current knowledge may help prevent unnecessary alarm and unwarranted expensive therapy for the child with a minor spinal curve. Despite the admonition that "scoliosis has been and remains a disease made more obscure by those of us who have written about it," James and his coauthors have indeed produced an enlightening survey.

Excellent diagrams and photographs pervade the initial sections on classification, anatomy, pathology, and diagnosis. Unfortunately, basic knowledge of pathology remains minuscule. We may hope that future studies at the cellular and molecular level will negate this sad commentary as new insights appear.

Superbly written chapters describe the differential diagnosis and prognosis for a variety of types of curves. The section on infantile idiopathic scoliosis reflects the