Roller coaster could be a cure for painful kidney stones
Health practitioners may have just found a unique, unconventional way to get rid of kidney stones.
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For years, Dr. David Wartinger of Michigan State University has heard from his several patients that they passed their kidney stones after riding a roller coaster at Walt Disney World at Orlando. One patient, for example, reported that he passed a stone after 3 consecutive rides on the roller coaster. Many patients reported passing kidney stones within hours of leaving the amusement park, and the most surprising thing was that all of them rode the same rollercoaster during their visit. These claims prompted him to conduct a little bit of research himself.
Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form inside the kidneys. Some kidney stones are very small and may pass out of body on their own through urine. Other can grow quite large, up to the size of golf ball, get stuck in urethra and cause a lot of pain. In latter case, people have to undergo surgical treatment to remove kidney stones.
To test the effects roller coaster on kidney with stones, researchers created a 3D printed model of a kidney and filled it with three real kidney stones and some urine. The stones were different in size and were placed at different positions and taken along for ride on a particular roller coaster named Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Researchers took 20 rides and looked at what happened to each kidney stone. It turned out that the method is indeed effective.
Researchers found that sitting in the back of the roller coaster was more useful than sitting in the front. When researchers sat in the back of the roller coaster car the kidney stones passed nearly 64 percent of the time compared to only 17 percent after riding in the front.
“Preliminary study findings support the anecdotal evidence that a ride on a moderate-intensity roller coaster could benefit some patients with small kidney stones," said Wartinger.
“What was amazing was within just a few rides it became obvious that there was a huge difference in passage rates whether you sat in the front or the rear of the coaster. There was a lot more whipping around in that rear car.”
Besides seat placement, the size of the kidney stone lso matters in their dislodging. The smaller the size, the better the chances of passing kidney stones through urine.
Each year in United States, more than 30,000 patients seek emergency care for kidney stones and most of them require surgery to remove stones, which is a costly and painful procedure. So, riding a roller coaster could possibly take over conventional ways of treating kidney stones.