Elevated hair copper level in idiopathic scoliosis: preliminary observations

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). May-Jun 1980;5(3):230-3. doi: 10.1097/00007632-198005000-00005.


Hair samples were collected from 74 patients with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis and from 25 control children and were analyzed for content of the following minerals: copper, sodium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, cadmium, calcium, and manganese. The hair copper level of the scoliotic children was significantly higher than that of the controls. The scoliosis mean was 6.5 micrograms/dl and the control mean was 3.6 micrograms/dl, P less than 0.025. There was no correlation between the amount of hair copper and the severity of the scoliosis. The authors suggest that copper may be a factor in the development of scoliosis since it is part of the lysyl oxidase enzymes that are required for cross-linking of collagen and elastin. Another connection is that postpubertal girls have higher copper levels than boys and also have a greater severity of scoliosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Copper / analysis*
  • Female
  • Hair / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minerals / analysis
  • Scoliosis / metabolism*


  • Minerals
  • Copper