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Queen’s University academics raise awareness of scoliosis research on World Scoliosis Day

Today marks World Scoliosis Day and academics from Queen’s University Belfast are raising awareness of a forthcoming research project (called SPINE-COS-AYA).

SPINE-COS-AYA will explore the best way of measuring treatment success for adolescents and young adults with spinal conditions (scoliosis) 

The project, which is being led by Dr Lisa Graham-Wisener and Dr Paul Toner, both Lecturers in Health Psychology from the Centre for Improving Health-Related Quality of Life, School of Psychology, will look at how quality of life is affected by scoliosis and its treatment and how this can be measured in ways that are meaningful to patients. 

Talking about the project, Dr Lisa Graham-Wisener said: “Spinal conditions affect many people worldwide of all ages. For example, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis affects between 1 and 3 per cent of young people. There is however a lack of high-quality evidence on which medical treatment works best. The project will explore which outcomes are most important to measure, by interviewing young people, their families and healthcare professionals. It places young patients at the core of developing a person-centred outcome set and will establish which outcomes should be used internationally when researchers or clinicians are evaluating if a treatment has worked. 

 The data collection will take place in Northern Ireland and once the initial stage is complete, a large international study will follow in order to agree outcomes to be used globally. It is hoped that the core outcome set is used by healthcare staff and researchers, making it easier to combine and compare research findings. This will help to improve the lives of young people with scoliosis. 

The SPINE-COS-AYA project is funded by the British Scoliosis Research Foundation and is being undertaken in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Regional Scoliosis Service (BHSCT), as well as several patient organisations including: Megan’s Wish, Scoliosis Association United Kingdom, Scoliosis Awareness and Support Ireland.  

The project, which was delayed by COVID-19, will start recruitment in the coming months. If you would like to be kept up to date on news relating to the project, please follow the team on Twitter or Facebook (@qubscoliosis) 


Media inquiries to Sarah Beveridge at Queen's Communications Office on Tel: 07795 353874 or email