Riding roller coasters might help dislodge kidney stones | Science News


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Riding roller coasters might help dislodge kidney stones

Preliminary study uses fake kidney to test the idea

9:00am, October 31, 2016
Roller coaster

ROCKIN' RIDES  After patients reported that they passed kidney stones after riding on roller coasters, researchers decided to see for themselves. 

Passing a kidney stone is not exactly rocket science, but it could get a boost from Space Mountain.

It seems that shaking, twisting and diving from on high could help small stones dislodge themselves from the kidney’s inner maze of tubules. Or so say two researchers who rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., 20 times with a fake kidney tucked inside a backpack.

The researchers, from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing, planned the study after several of their patients returned from the theme park announcing they had passed a kidney stone. Finally, one patient reported passing three stones, each one after a ride on a roller coaster.

“Three consecutive rides, three stones — that was too much to ignore,” says David Wartinger, a kidney specialist who conducted the study with Marc Mitchell, his chief resident at the time.


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