Medicine: A Dangerous Curve

Merely being able to look back over her shoulder brings great satisfaction to Debra Tietz, 19, a beautician in Cottage Grove, Minn. For nearly seven years, she could not bend her neck or back: her torso was held rigid from the chin to the pelvis by a cumbersome steel and leather brace. Debra was the victim of scoliosis, or abnormal curvature of the spine. The brace, which she was finally able to discard last year, not only straightened her back but may well have saved her life.

Scoliosis (from the Greek for crooked), in varying...

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