A Brock professor, a physician and a bracing specialist are teaming up on research to expand our knowledge of bone strength as well as re-think how we design back braces for people with scoliosis.
And they’re inviting women across Niagara to take part in the project.
The researchers are seeking women aged 18 to 30 who have or have had scoliosis, and who used a scoliosis brace during their adolescence. Scoliosis is a medical condition characterized by curvature and rotation of the spine.
Bareket Falk, a Kinesiology researcher, is undertaking the project with partners Alan Rigby from Niagara Prosthetics and Orthotics, and Dr. Matt Greenway of the Michael DeGroote School of Medicine.
The researchers want to study how bracing may affect bone during the growing years, and whether flexible scoliosis braces are more effective than the rigid braces traditionally used by patients with scoliosis, Falk said. The researchers are interested in examining how nutrition and exercise can be used to alleviate some of the potential effects of bracing.
“What we learn in this project could help people be at less risk of developing osteoporosis later in life,” she said.
The researchers would like up to 50 women to undergo a one-time examination lasting about 90 minutes. Besides receiving a $50 honorarium, Falk said participants will also benefit by learning more about their own bone strength, and, if appropriate, being counseled by the research team as to any further options they may want to pursue.
The project is funded under the federal government’s Applied Research and Commercialization (ARC) program, which helps Brock researchers partner with small and medium enterprises on projects that help the businesses compete nationally and internationally.