Table of Contents
- Judge Cuts
- The Champions Preliminary
- After “The Champions”
- Wikijunior:Human Body/Spinal Column
- Can you live without a spinal column?
- What does the spinal column look like?
- What are the parts of the spinal column?
- What is the function of the spinal column?
- How does the spinal column interact with other parts of the body?
- How can you keep your spinal column healthy?
- Anatomy and Function
- Spinal Fusion Is It Worth It? More Research Says No…
- The Structures of the Spinal Column
- Study Shows Serious Issues with 360 Degree Lumbar Fusions
- Other Poor Outcomes Due to Spinal Fusions
What do Laura Bretan, Sofie Dossi, and Grace VanderWaal have in common, other than being the unbelievably talented teen finalists on this season of America’s Got Talent? Quite a lot, it turns out. Their lives have changed tremendously in just a short amount of time, and they’re here to offer some pretty great advice for aspiring performers, and insight into what we can expect to see from them in the next 5 years. Whether they win the competition or not, these are three girls whose careers are about to take off.
“I’ve had no formal training,” Sofie begins. “It’s all self-taught, even the routines I create myself.” (During her audition, the 14-year-old contortionist bent herself over and actually shot a bow and arrow using only her feet – and yes, she hit the mark.) It’s just one of many things the three girls have in common: they taught themselves to sing, bend, play, and perform. “I used to just do backbends around the house as a kid, and discovered I was more flexible than other kids,” she continued. “One day, I saw a video of a contortionist and I was like, I want to do this.”
She’s up against a host of incredibly talented people this season, among them 12-year-old Grace and 13-year-old Laura, the former of whom you probably know as the indie-inspired ukulele player with talent and soul of a performer three times her age, and the latter, the opera singer who could all but rival Celine Dion.
As talented as they are, they’re equally down-to-Earth. Though life is very different now that they’re famous, they never forget to be grateful for their opportunity to compete on the show. “Even the simple things like followers on Instagram has completely blown up,” Laura says of her off-screen life, “I’ve gotten comments and messages from people all over the world. I’ll just be going for a morning stroll and they’ll ask me for an autograph or picture. It’s very surreal and I still can’t believe I’m here.” Grace echoed the sentiment, saying that what’s she’s experienced so far has only been positive, “particularly for my personal self-confidence.”
When asked about their competition, all three agreed that everyone was exceptional (haters, kindly see yourself out). “I admire all of them, because I know how hard it is to follow this dream, how much work is put into this,” Laura said. “I see the crew every day, and what they have to do? It’s a step-by-step process and they all deserve to be here.”
As for where we can expect to see the girls in a few years, they all hope to be following their respective paths of performing. Sofie said she’d love to try her hand at TV or movies, particularly if it were a superhero or action show; Laura said she’d like to continue as a recording artist, possibly dabbling in other genres like pop or Christian rock; and Grace agreed that doing anything that would allow her to make money and play music would be a dream come true.
Their advice for anyone aspiring to do something similar was unanimous: be fearless. “Give it time,” Grace said. “It may happen tomorrow and it may happen in 10 years. Everyone has their path, and most of the time, they don’t even know they’re on it. Every tiny decision they make is following it, and there’s a certain place they’re going to. Just give it time, and allow your life to take its course,” she concluded.
But for these girls, the time is now, and their efforts deserve the praise they’ve been getting. “It’s the most amazing feeling, to see this on TV and then find yourself on the stage,” Sofie said of how surreal it is to be where she is now. “It’s like a beautiful dream.”
Related: This Is the Song Grace VanderWaal Almost Performed at Her America’s Got Talent Audition
Check this out:
|Age (at audition)||14; 17|
|Seasons||11, The Champions|
|Position Reached||Finalist; Preliminaries|
Sofie Dossi was a contortionist/aerialist act from Season 11 of America’s Got Talent. She finished in the Bottom 5 of the Top 10. Sofie returned for America’s Got Talent: The Champions, where she was eliminated in the Preliminaries, finishing her night in third place.
Sofie Dossi is a self-taught contortionist and hand balancer. She became captivated at age 12 after watching an online video. Having been a competitive gymnast and dancer, she had a great foundation of strength and flexibility and advanced her skills using YouTube videos as her teacher, combined with disciplined practice at home. Within a year, she began performing at family and friend celebrations and gradually caught the eye of entertainment companies that began to hire her for larger events.
Dossi’s inspiration is to enthrall audiences by showing them a unique performance they have never seen before, so she is always motivated to create innovative shows.
Sofie Dossi’s audition in Episode 1105 consisted of bending her knees over her head and balancing on one hand on a cane. With her legs still bent, she then grabbed an apple with her legs and took a bite out of it. Finally, while performing a handstand, she shot a bow with her feet and hit a target feet away. Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell all voted “Yes,” sending Sofie to the Judge Cuts.
America’s Got Talent 2016 Sophi Dossi 14 Y.O. Hand Balancing Contortionist Full Audition Clip S11E5 Audition
Sofie Dossi’s Judge Cuts performance in Episode 1108 consisted of hanging on an elevated hoop by first the back of her neck and then the bridge of her feet. Next, she hand balanced on rotating canes. Finally, she shot a bow with her feet and hit a target with a flaming arrow feet away. Howie Mandel, Mel B, Reba McEntire, and Heidi Klum gave her standing ovations. Impressed by the performance, guest judge Reba pressed her Golden Buzzer for Sofie, sending her straight to the Quarterfinals.
America’s Got Talent 2016 Sofie Dossi Amazing 14 Y.O. Contortionist Archer Full Judge Cuts Clip S11E Judge Cuts Performance
Sofie Dossi’s Week 2 Quarterfinals performance in Episode 1113 consisted of reaching the stage from the Aerial Silk. Next, she balanced on her hands on two canes while contorting her body. Finally, while blindfolded and after being rotated on the canes one full rotation, Sofie shot a bow with her feet and hit a target with a flaming arrow feet away. Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell all gave her standing ovations. Sofie received enough votes to be sent to the Semifinals in Episode 1114 instead of Flip and Ryan Stock and AmberLynn.
America’s Got Talent 2016 Sofie Dossi Contortionist Gymnast Archer Live Shows Round 2 S11E14 Quarterfinals Performance America’s Got Talent 2016 Live Shows Round 2 Results Part 2 S11E15 Quarterfinals Results
Sofie Dossi’s Week 2 Semifinals performance in Episode 1119 consisted of balancing on one hand on a rotating cane while her legs were bent over her back, hanging on a quickly spinning elevated hoop by her bent back, and finally hanging on the hoop by the back of her neck while doing the splits. Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell all gave her standing ovations. Sofie finished in fourth, fifth, or sixth place in America’s Vote. In the Dunkin’ Save, Sofie received more online votes than both Steven Brundage and Viktor Kee, sending her to the Finals in Episode 1120.
America’s Got Talent 2016 Semi-Finals Sofie Dossi Amazing Contortionist S11E20 Semifinals Performance America’s Got Talent 2016 Semi-Finals Results Round 2 The 3 Dunkin Save Acts S11E21 Dunkin’ Save Announcement America’s Got Talent 2016 Semi-Finals Round 2 Results The Dunkin Save Act S11E21 Dunkin’ Save Results
Sofie Dossi’s Finals performance in Episode 1121 consisted of balancing on one hand on a rotating cane while her legs were bent over her back, performing multiple fast back walkovers and hanging on a quickly spinning elevated hoop upside down. Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell all gave her standing ovations.
America’s Got Talent 2016 Finals The Amazing Sofie Dossii S11E22 Finals Performance
For the finale in Episode 1122, Sofie Dossi performed aerial tricks while Viktor Kee juggled and Laura Bretan sang “Nessun dorma” with Il Volo. Sofie did not receive enough votes to be included in the Top 5, eliminating her from the competition instead of Grace VanderWaal.
America’s Got Talent 2016 Finals Resullts Sofie, Laura & Viktor Special Performance S11E23 Guest Collaboration America’s Got Talent 2016 Finals Resullts The Bottom 5 S11E23 Top 5 Revealed
The Champions Preliminary
Sofie Dossi returned for The Champions. Her Preliminary performance in Episode TC01 consisted of performing an aerialist routine within a hoop and contorting while balancing on the hoop by her lower back and then her neck. Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell all gave her standing ovations. It was revealed that the superfans voted her into the Top 3 along with Preacher Lawson and Bianca Ryan. However, she recieved fewer votes than either of them, eliminating her from the competition.
After “The Champions”
Sofie returned in Episode 1412 as a guest performer. She performed aerial tricks while Brian King Joseph and Bianca Ryan performed Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good”.
- Sofie and Season 13 act Duo Transcend are the only aerial acts in the show’s history to reach the finals.
- She has also made it further than any contortionist act in the show’s history along with Hairo Torres.
- YouTube Channel
|v • d • e Season 11 Auditions|
Wikijunior:Human Body/Spinal Column
Can you live without a spinal column?
No, you can not live without a spinal column. It is made up of many vertebrae, which are special types of bones, arranged in a column, so it can also be referred as a vertebral column. In fact, to be a vertebrate, you must have a such a column from the spine in little fish to the huge vertebral column of a giraffe or a blue whale, the largest animal ever known to have lived. Without one, your body would be drastically different; for example, octopuses do not have one.
What does the spinal column look like?
Most people have the first understanding how it look by looking at fish, since the spine of a fish is its spinal column. In humans and other vertebrates (animals with a vertebral based skeleton) the column cannot be directly viewed from the outside in its totality, but it can be felt and sometimes visually noticeable under the skin on the back of the human torso. It because of this that we also use the word spine to dine any ridge formation. Just put your fingers along your back! If you look at a complete spine, it is a curved column composed of vertebrae.
What are the parts of the spinal column?
What is the function of the spinal column?
The spinal column supports the most of the body and skull. It protects your nervous system, and deep inside in the vertebras’ bone marrow it generates the components for your body’s defence system and also a bundle of nerve fibres called “spinal cord”. Without connecting to these nerve fibres, your brain can’t tell that part of the body to move. That is why the spinal is so important!
How does the spinal column interact with other parts of the body?
Your spinal column is the principal part of you skeleton, it is connected with the lower tip of your skull and the nerves it supports connect to your brain, thus, connecting with all the other body parts, like a central switchboard. So, in general, the spine is kind of connected to all of your body! Allowing messages to flow and so you to move, bend, kneel, stand up, sit down and all kinds of other cool movements!
How can you keep your spinal column healthy?
The spine is in large part bone. If it is broken, you may not be able to move any part of your body lower than the point of breakage, since the bone protects the “spinal cord”.
Anatomy and Function
The spinal segment allows us to focus on the repeating parts of the spinal column to better understand what can go wrong with the various parts of the spine. Sometimes problems in the spine involve only one spinal segment, while other times the problems involve multiple segments.
Each spinal segment is like a well-tuned part of a machine. All of the parts should work together to allow weight bearing, movement, and support. When all the parts are functioning properly, all spinal segments join to make up a remarkably strong structure called the spinal column. When one segment deteriorates to the point of instability, it can lead to problems at that segment causing pain and other difficulties.
Now that you know the parts of the spine, let us look at the spine itself, which has three main segments – the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spines.
The lowest part of the spine is called the lumbar spine. This area has five vertebrae. However, sometimes people are born with a sixth vertebra in the lumbar region. The base of your spine (sacrum) is a fusion of many bones, and when one of them forms as a vertebra rather than part of the sacrum, it is called a transitional (or sixth) vertebra. This occurrence is not dangerous and does not appear to have any serious side effects.
The lumbar spine’s shape has what is called a lordotic curve. The lordotic shape is like a backwards “C”. If you think of the spine as having an “S”-like shape, the lumbar region would be the bottom of the “S”. The vertebrae in the lumbar spine area are the largest of the entire spine, so the lumbar spinal canal is larger than in the cervical or thoracic parts of the spine. Because of its size, the lumbar spine has more space for the nerves to move about.
Low back pain is a very common complaint for a simple reason. Since the lumbar spine is connected to your pelvis, this is where most of your weight bearing and body movement takes place. Typically, this is where people tend to place too much pressure, such as: lifting up a heavy box, twisting to move a heavy load, or carrying a heavy object. Such repetitive injuries can lead to damage to the parts of the lumbar spine.
The thoracic spine is made up of the middle 12 vertebra of the spine. These vertebrae connect to your ribs and form part of the back wall of the thorax (the ribcage area between the neck and the diaphragm). This part of the spine has very narrow, thin intervertebral discs, so there is much less movement allowed between vertebrae than in the lumbar or cervical parts of the spine. It also has less space in the spinal canal for the nerves. The thoracic spine’s curve is called kyphotic because of its shape, which is a regular “C”-shaped curve with the opening of the “C” in the front.
The cervical spine is made up of the first seven vertebrae in the spine. It starts just below the skull and ends just above the thoracic spine. The cervical spine has a lordotic curve (a backward “C”-shape) – just like the lumbar spine. The cervical spine is much more mobile than both of the other spinal regions – think about all the directions and angles you can turn your neck.
Unlike the rest of the spine, there are special openings in each vertebra in the cervical spine for the arteries (blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart), as well as the spinal canal that carries the spinal cord. The arteries that run through these openings bring blood to the brain.
Two vertebrae in the cervical spine, the atlas and the axis, differ from the other vertebrae because they are designed specifically for rotation. These two vertebrae are what allow your neck to rotate in so many directions, including looking to the side.
The atlas is the first cervical vertebra – the one that sits between the skull and the rest of spine. The atlas does not have a vertebral body, but does have a thick forward (anterior) arch and a thin back (posterior) arch, with two prominent sideways masses.
The atlas sits on top of the second cervical vertebra – the axis. The axis has a bony knob called the odontoid process that sticks up through the hole in the atlas. It is this special arrangement that allows the head to turn from side to side as far as it can. Special ligaments between these two vertebrae allow a great deal of rotation to occur between the two bones.
Though the cervical spine is very flexible, it is also very much at risk for injury from strong, sudden movements, such as whiplash-type injuries. This high risk of harm is due to: the limited muscle support that exists in the cervical area, and because this part of the spine has to support the weight of the head. This is a lot of weight for a small, thin set of bones and soft tissues to bear. Therefore, sudden, strong head movement can cause damage.
Copyright © 2003 DePuy Acromed.
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Spinal Fusion Is It Worth It? More Research Says No…
A spinal fusion is a surgery that uses hardware and screws to “fix” together two or more vertebrae to make a damaged section of spine immovable. Given that this is a big surgery with many known serious side effects, a patient the other day posed this question: “Spinal fusion is it worth it?” My answer, based on what I already knew, was a strong no, but when I dug deeper into the research, my resolve deepened.
So what is spinal fusion? One of the more common types of fusions is called a 360 degree fusion (360 fusion) because it fuses together the vertebrae from both the front and back sides of the spinal column. Fusion surgery is commonly done when a patient has some type of degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, stenosis, or other spinal injuries that cause pain or spinal instability. These surgeries are lengthy, risky, and painful, and besides the fact that the term “fusing” seems more suited a welder’s trade than a surgeon’s—or perhaps because of it—the truth is, long-term 360 degree fusion outcomes are awful!
To address why spinal fusions are such a bad idea, we’ll first explain the structures of the back, and then we’ll jump into the latest of many studies showing the ineffectiveness of spinal fusion surgery.
The Structures of the Spinal Column
The spine is like a series of blocks stacked one upon the other, creating structure and containing and protecting the spinal cord. The “blocks” are our vertebrae, or the bones in our spinal column, and there are discs between each vertebra for absorbing shock.
Some other structures along our spine include facet joints, which control the motion between each vertebra. Our spinal column also protects our spinal cord, which is like a bundle of wire containing all of our nerves and nerve roots that, along with the brain, make up our central nervous system. These nerves transmit feeling and tell our muscles what to do. It’s all held together by ligaments and kept stable by a series of muscles called multifidus, and the column has natural opposing curves to distribute our weight and provide stability. A more in-depth description of the spine can be viewed in my video below.
Damage (degenerative or an injury) to the discs, vertebrae, ligaments and other structures can cause instability. Fusion surgery is done when vertebrae become so unstable that movement affects the nerves or causes pain. But the problem from a structural standpoint is that making two or more vertebrae “fixed” and immovable simply puts more stress and load on the vertebrae above and below the fusion, which causes degenerative arthritis and can lead to adjacent segment degeneration (ASD) as you’ll see in the study highlighted next.
Study Shows Serious Issues with 360 Degree Lumbar Fusions
A new study looked at circumferential lumbar fusions (360 degree lumbar fusions) in 73 patients at 2, 5, 10, and 15 years postop. While the fusions show good short-term results, this is deceiving; there is actually a progressive worsening of the patients’ conditions throughout the duration of the study. Take a look at these statistics below showing the number of patients who underwent revision surgeries because of adjacent segment degeneration (ASD), or degeneration in the disc levels adjacent to, or above and below, the fusion:
- By 5 years postop, 7 patients required revision.
- By 10 years postop, 18 patients required revision.
- By 15 years postop, 24 patients required revision.
Are you seeing a pattern? Is the answer to Spinal Fusion is it worth it getting clearer? Even more stunning is the fact that by 10 years, 37 (51%) of the 73 patients showed ASD on radiology exams. The study concludes, “The high rate of ASD occurrence and reintervention questions the reliability of this technique for lumbar fusion.”
Between 10 and 15 years postop, the average ODI scores (which measure the degree of disability) for the patients in this study had returned to the levels they were at before the 360 fusion. What’s amazing about this study is that it’s one of the few that seems to match what we see in the clinic every day, even with fusions that only install hardware on the back part of the spine. While other studies show that adjacent levels break down due to the fusion, they always seem to minimize the phenomenon and somehow blame it on the patient. For example, some are now claiming that it’s bad genetics that are responsible for these poor sad sacks who have rapid deterioration of the levels next to the fusion. Huh? These levels would have been fine without the fusion, even with the patient’s genes.
There are many different types of spinal fusion surgeries out there, and each carry significant risks with them. One of the most common is posterolateral gutter fusion, which places bone graft in the region that lies right outside the spine. Posterior lumbar interbody fusion is done from the back and involves the removal of the disk found between the affected vertebrae. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion is a type of surgery approached from the front instead of the back, like the PLIF version. Extreme lateral interbody fusion is similar to the others but done from the side.
Yes, there are many spinal fusion surgeries, but let’s take a look at the risks involved. For most kinds of spinal fusion, there’s a chance that surgeons are unable to solidly fuse the vertebrae, which would require another surgery in the future. In cases where the fuse is solid, patients may also experience what is referred as adjacent segment disease or ASD. This is what happens when a segment adjacent to the fused area begins to break down thanks to an increase in stress. Some types of spinal fusion surgery, like anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery, carry added risks. Due to the nature of the surgery, the procedure comes close to large blood vessels. Any damage done to those blood vessels could lead to a great deal of blood loss.
Other complications may arise in a major surgery such as this one. Patients may experience blood clots, infection, bleeding, pain, and the risks that come from using anesthesia. But that’s not the end of potential problems. A surgery dealing so closely with the spine may end up causing a nerve injury. Mild conditions of this may result in sensations of tingling or even numbness in the leg. A more serious complication would be losing movement in a limb. Outside of nerve injuries, patients may also have to deal with donor bone graft issues, the most common being tissue rejection and infection.
For some, the potential issues and complications are risks they’re willing to take for pain relief. However, even in cases where spinal fusion is successful, there’s always a risk that the patient’s pain doesn’t completely go away. It might even get worse. Think about that for a moment. Getting rid of pain is the very reason someone undertakes such a drastic surgery, and there’s a notable chance that they won’t get the outcome they wanted.
The other thing to consider is the spinal fusion surgery recovery process. A surgery of this scope will require a hospital stay of around four days, possibly more. The patient will need to be hooked up to medical devices, from a heart monitor to an IV and catheter. Even when the patient is out of the hospital, they’ll need follow-up appointments for months and even years afterwards. And that doesn’t count the physical therapy they’ll need before they’re back to where they want to be.
Other Poor Outcomes Due to Spinal Fusions
While I have seen a few patients who have a severe instability that can only benefit from a fusion, these patients are rare. More often than not, post-fusion patients require revision surgeries; need ongoing narcotics following surgery; experience complications due to their surgery, such as irrevocable damage to the multifidus muscle; and spend a lot of money on a serious surgery providing very little to no long-term returns. With results this poor and so much research showing reasons not to, why would you want a fusion?
Even more concerning is the fact that we don’t have any high-level evidence that spinal fusions are effective. There are low-level studies published by spine surgeons and fusion-device manufacturers that seem to show that fusion works. However, this doesn’t fit with the clinical experience of anyone who sees a lot of post-fusion patients who are still in pain. And it certainly doesn’t mesh with high-level studies such as the one above showing glaringly poor 360 fusion outcomes.
In addition, in the case of spinal stenosis, for example, spinal fusions are far more dangerous due to their complication rates than the decompression surgery they’ve gradually replaced over the last 10–20 years.
The upshot? So spinal fusion is it worth it? Just because a 360 degree fusion is the popular option doesn’t mean it’s the safest or most effective option. The spine is not meant to be a stationary structure, so leave the fusing to the welders, and look into other options to address your pain and spinal instability that will allow you to maintain the natural movement and curve of your spine.
Category: Back/lumbar, Latest News, Neck/Cervical
Contortionist Sofie Dossi is back! Returning to the America’s Got Talent stage to compete on the new Champions spinoff, the 17-year-old gymnast first made a name for herself on the show in 2016 for doing all sorts of dangerous acts while bending her body in super-human ways.
So, how does she do it? Does Sofie Dossi even have a spine?!
While the answer to the second question is obviously “yes,” the reason she’s able to pose like a human pretzel is a bit more complicated. According to Dr. Charla Fischer, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at New York University Langone’s Spine Center, some people really are just born with it — “it” being more elastic ligaments, joint capsules, tendons, and various muscles. Given that Sofie is a self-taught contortionist who began performing within a year of picking up the art, it’s safe to assume that she falls into this category.
“In general, people who are really flexible have loose joints,” Dr. Fischer explains. “The joints are in tact, the spine is in tact, they’re just able to exceed the normal ranges of motion.” While there are certain conditions that make some people more bendy than others (connective tissue disorders, for example), Dr. Fischer says you don’t necessarily have to have a medical issue to be really flexible.
Of course, this isn’t to say that Sofie hasn’t worked super hard to get where she is. But training aside, Dr. Fischer makes it clear that everyone has a certain “degree of flexibility” that they can reach in their lifetime. Pushing those limits too far can result in ruptures, sprains, and overall intense back pain. (So, um, don’t try Sofie’s moves at home, okay?)
As for those with naturally insane flexibility like Sofie, as long as they’re not feeling any pain, contorting the back into odd-looking shapes isn’t necessarily harmful.
“They’re not doing anything bad. For joints where you’re dislocating and relocating to perform tricks, however, is not recommended,” Dr. Fischer declares. “The worry is that the body can only make scar cartilage, and we can’t replace old cartilage.”
The bottom line: Assuming Sofie isn’t in chronic pain, she’s not doing anything harmful to her body. She and her spine (which, again, she most definitely has, people!), are just really, really amazing.
Kayla Keegan News and Entertainment Editor Kayla Keegan covers all things in the entertainment, pop culture, and celebrity space for Good Housekeeping.