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Dislodging Kidney Stones? Ride a Roller Coaster, Study Says

Sep 29, 2016 03:44 AM EDT

If you want to dislodge your kidney stones, riding a roller coaster might help. A paper published in The Journal of the American Osteophatic Association  reveals that by riding the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney World, there are higher chances that kidney stones can be dislodged.

Though it is an unusual study to undertake, David Wartinger, urologist and one of the co-authors, said the idea came up when his patient actually went to ride the said rollercoaster in Disney World three times in a row. As a result, his patient's kidney stone passed in every ride, making it three stones passing in less than an hour.

"That really caught my attention, there was something going on here with roller coasters and renal calculi [kidney stones]" Wartinger said. "The problem was, how do you study something like that?"

With a strange story in mind, Wartinger, together with his colleague Marc Mitchell, decided to go ahead and give it a try. To conduct the study, they brought along a fake kidney made up with silicone mold that was 3D printed based on a CT scan of an actual kidney. This model was filled with urine and real kidney stones. The researchers brought the models with them and put it inside a backpack, letting it sit in the same position as where a real-life kidney is.

Even though it is quite insane to do, the researchers rode the rollercoaster 60 times, all while carrying the backpack with fake kidney inside. It was noted in the study that they also re-positioned the dislodged kidney stones every time before they ride the rollercoaster.

It was soon discovered that when the researchers were sitting in the front seat of the rollercoaster, passage rate is 4 of 24 at 16.7 percent. Meanwhile, when seated in the rear seat of the ride, there was an increase in passage rate (23 of 36) making the possibility of kidney stones to be disloged at 63.89 percent. This means there are more kidney stone passages if one is seated at the rear side of the roller coaster.

Interestingly, despite of not knowing what exact methods on how roller coasters help to dislodge a kidney stone, Wartinger have ideas. He said, "We know that the moderate intensity coaster worked. You don't need 70 mile an hour coasters, you don't need precipitous drops, you don't need inversions, you don't need high speed turns. What I think is happening is we're vibrating the stones loose."

The findings might be exciting, but we should not rush in to any roller coasters. Kidneys in each person are unique, so this is not a fit-to-for-all method. According to Popular Science, Wartinger would like to extend the study to learn on how roller coasters affect kidney stones.

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