PolyU is launching a three-year “Healthy Spine Project” funded through a generous donation from Lee Hysan Foundation, a strategic partner and sponsor of the University. The project involves the development and community application of non-surgical treatment for adolescents aged between 10 and 15 years old with mild to moderate adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).


AIS is an abnormal curvature of the spine that appears in late childhood or adolescence. In Hong Kong, AIS is the third most common health problem among students. Up to 2.5% of the local adolescent population suffers from AIS, almost double the global prevalence rate of 1.34%. Early intervention is crucial to prevent further deterioration of the spine, however, existing interventions impose restrictions on patients’ mobility.


The “Healthy Spine Project” was launched to overcome this problem. A multi-disciplinary team led by Dr Joanne Yip, Associate Professor of PolyU’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles, collaborated with researchers from the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong to develop products offering more effective treatment for AIS.


The project will provide AIS screening for 4,500 students and early non-surgical intervention for 110 students with mild to moderate AIS, using three different medical garments recently developed in Hong Kong. The garments are designed to be functional and wearable, combining advanced textile and garment technologies with the innovative use of sensors to treat patients. A pre-clinical trial of the garments will be conducted in the community, after which they will be commercialised to provide a more viable way for AIS sufferers to treat their condition.