The state of research in the field of conservative treatment is insufficient . Interest in this specific topic decreased gradually from the 1970's to the 1990's, and only in the last decade has it improved, due to the efforts of the international scientific Society on Scoliosis Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) and its Journal (Scoliosis). What is clearly evident is that our understanding of brace effectiveness is still in its early stages of development. Braces are still named according to the town where it was developed [55–60] or the name of its inventor [47, 61, 62] or its theory [63–66]. No actual classification system exists to help distinguish one brace from another [65, 67], and only very few comparisons among different braces have been published [68–70]. The only way to improve the knowledge and understanding of brace type and brace function is to establish a single and comprehensive source of information about bracing. This is what the Scoliosis Journal is going to do. A study of each brace type is clearly the first step toward an understanding of the common roots and the specific differences among them. This will, hopefully, stimulate even more research on bracing in the future. Let us start by documenting the knowledge of our brace experts, and then use this to derive useful commonalities and increase our general knowledge.
Brace effectiveness is questioned by some clinicians and researchers because there is not enough evidence published to support it [71–73]. A Cochrane Review on the topic in Adolescent IS has been published in the January, 2010 issue of the Cochrane Database . It concludes that there is evidence in support of bracing, but much of it is of very low quality. There are even fewer published papers on HK brace treatment [15, 16], and almost none exist in the treatment of spondylolisthesis . While a few brace studies have been published in adults and in the elderly [25–27, 32, 33], a lot of research still needs to be done. Nevertheless, the existing results provide only weak evidence in favour of bracing in these clinical situations, and there is not a consensus that has been reached. Consequently, while it can be stated that there is evidence to support bracing, we must also acknowledge that today we do not have a common and generally accepted knowledge base, and that instead, individual expertise still prevails, giving rise to different schools of thought. In this respect, conservative experts have joined together in SOSORT, conceding that they may not share the same concept of the biomechanical action of corrective bracing on spinal curvature  even though they all agree on how to manage conservatively to obtain good results . The first step must be to combine our collective knowledge and hold it up to scrutiny, so that a careful and thorough investigation of each theory can be completed.
We must also develop clear, consistent definitions of all the parameters used to measure brace effectivenes, because without this it will be impossible to compare the effectiveness of different brace types and the relative performance of the different centers involved. To help accomplish this, SOSORT is organizing its next consensus paper on this topic. It will be discussed at the 2010 Montreal SOSORT meeting and then published in Scoliosis. This will be an important first step in evaluating the effectiveness of bracing. Recently, the standardization of criteria for Adolescent IS brace research has been established by the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) Committee on Bracing and Non-operative Management [75, 76]. The application of these criteria will greatly enhance research protocols exploring the effectiveness of bracing, and it is anticipated that much progress will be made in the near future as a consequence [31, 77–80].