European Spine Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 776–780 | Cite as

Confirmation of microevolutionary increase in spina bifida occulta among Swiss birth cohorts

  • Yu Chao Lee
  • Lucian Bogdan Solomon
  • Frank Jakobus Rühli
  • Regula Schiess
  • Lena Öhrström
  • Thomas Sullivan
  • Hatem Alkadhi
  • Maciej Henneberg
Original Article


Previous studies on the prevalence of spina bifida occulta have indicated a microevolutionary increase in its frequency and possible population differences in the prevalence of the condition. We studied the frequencies of closed and open sacral canals at each sacral level among two birth cohorts in Switzerland. Transverse CT scans and multiplanar reconstruction images of sacra of 95 males and 96 females born in 1940–1950 and 99 males and 94 females born in 1970–1980 in Switzerland were reviewed. We found that individuals born later have significantly more open sacral arches at all sacral levels compared to those born 30–40 years earlier. When results were related to previously published data on Australian cohorts, the trend was the same, but Swiss in both cohorts were less likely to have an open section than Australians at all locations apart from S2. This study confirmed a microevolutionary trend in the opening of sacral canal among two different generations in Switzerland and demonstrated a population difference in the prevalence of spina bifida occulta.


Sacrum Opened sacral arches Secular trend Anatomical variation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu Chao Lee
    • 1
  • Lucian Bogdan Solomon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frank Jakobus Rühli
    • 3
  • Regula Schiess
    • 3
  • Lena Öhrström
    • 3
  • Thomas Sullivan
    • 4
  • Hatem Alkadhi
    • 5
  • Maciej Henneberg
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics and TraumaRoyal Adelaide HospitalNorth Terrace, AdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Discipline of Orthopaedics and Trauma and Discipline of Anatomy and PathologyThe University of AdelaideNorth TerraceAustralia
  3. 3.Institute of AnatomyUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Discipline of Public HealthThe University of AdelaideNorth TerraceAustralia
  5. 5.Institute of Diagnostic RadiologyUniversity Hospital ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  6. 6.Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research UnitThe University of AdelaideNorth TerraceAustralia

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