Slant of Your Backbone May Indicate If You Are
Headed for Nursing Home
Seniors with greatest
angle of spinal inclination, were 3.47 times more likely to become
May 9, 2013 –
The inclination of your
backbone may predict if you are going to end up in a nursing home or
at least need home healthcare in your old age, according to report
published online in the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological
Sciences and Medical Sciences.
A team of researchers
based in Japan discovered that the “trunk angle of inclination” — the
angle between the true vertical and a straight line from the first
thoracic vertebra to the first sacral vertebra — is associated with
becoming dependent on help for activities of daily living (ADL).
include such basic self-care tasks as bathing, feeding, toileting,
maintaining continence, dressing, and transferring in or out of a bed or
changes with age, but accumulated evidence shows that good spinal
posture is important in allowing the aged to maintain independent
lives,” the authors state.
The research team’s
data were sourced from 804 participants in the Kurabuchi Study, a
community-based prospective cohort study of senior citizens aged 65
years or older in Kurabuchi Town, approximately 62 miles (100
kilometers) north of Tokyo.
The test subjects’
spinal posture was measured with a spinal mouse, which is a
computer-assisted noninvasive device for measuring spinal shape. The
device is guided along the midline of the spine, starting at the spinous
process and finishing at the top of the anal crease.
Of the four spinal
measurements taken by the device, only “trunk angle of inclination” was
associated with future dependence in ADL — defined by the researchers as
either admission to a nursing home or need of home assistance after a
4.5 year follow-up period. At that time, 15.7 percent became dependent
in ADL, 7.6 percent died, and 0.7 percent moved out of the town. The
group was 58 percent female.
The subjects in the
highest quartiles, who had the greatest angle of spinal inclination,
were 3.47 times more likely to become dependent in ADL than those in
the lowest quartiles (the group with the least spinal inclination), even
after adjusting covariates such as age, sex, back pain, and stiffness.
The authors’ research
was supported by a grant in aid from the Japanese Ministry of Health,
Labor, and Welfare.