Abstract: Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is an indicator of developmental instability referred to random deviations from mean asymmetry. That average asymmetry is the directional asymmetry (DA), which, in the particular case of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), corresponds to a right thoracic and left lumbar curves. Investigating the presence of FA and DA in AIS has never been done, and it is a key element of the pathophysiology of the scoliotic condition. Thirty-six X-rays of patients with AIS were digitized and analysed using Geometric Morphometric analyses to test for both statistical effects. The individual FA score for each patient was calculated using Procrustes ANOVA and a methodology based on the components of shape was used to estimate the individual DA score. DA is a stronger effect than FA (2.12 to 1), as it has been found in other clinical conditions. The individual DA score, with an effect size of 0.58, is a better predictor of the Cobb angle than FA score. The methodology presented in this paper to estimate DA score is a valid approach in the study of asymmetries in AIS. FA should be correlated in future studies with environmental covariates to serve as a variable in the medical prognosis, while DA will serve as a good predictor of the Cobb angle during the course of the condition, avoiding the abuse of X-rays. This potential use of DA should be tested on 3D shape due to the three-dimensional clinical presentation of AIS.
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