Health In Focus
  • Researchers from The Michigan State University carried out research to study patient accounts of losing kidney stones while riding a roller coaster.
  • Study finds that kidney stones that are smaller than 4mm can be dislodged when riding a moderate intensity roller coaster.
  • The chances of dislodging a kidney stone are higher when riding the last car of the roller coaster.

Patient accounts of Disney World Roller coaster ride that is moderate intensity and which was found to remove small kidney stones has been corroborated in the study published in the Journal of The American Osteopathic Association.

There have been many accounts of people who went on the 'Big Thunder Mountain Roller Coaster ride' and having passed their kidney stones, so scientists from Michigan State University decided to study if these accounts were true.
Ride a Rollercoaster to Clear Your Kidneys Off Stones

Dr. David Wartinger, an Emeritus professor from The Michigan State University had heard many accounts of his patients passing kidney stones when they went on the roller coaster ride or bungee jumping. One patient claimed that he lost three different types of kidney stones when he went on the roller coaster ride, so the professor and his colleague Dr. Mark Mitchell decided to go to Orlando's Disney World to find out.

3D Model to Study Roller Coaster Effect on Kidney Stones

The scientists obtained the necessary permission from the Disney World authorities and created a silicone 3D model of a kidney, filled it with urine and placed three different kidney stones, not measuring more than 4mm. They placed the kidney in a backpack and placed it at different positions on the roller coaster. The backpack containing the study model was taken on 20 rides on the roller coaster to validate the results that were obtained.

Results of the study:
  • When the backpack was placed on the last car of the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster ride, there was a 63.89% chance of the passage of the stone.
  • When the backpack was placed in the front car of the ride, there was a 16.67% chance of the passage of the stone.
  • When the researchers rode the roller coaster ride with the models attached to them, there was a 70% chance of passage of stones when they sat in the last car.
  • There was 100% passage of the kidney stone if it was in the upper chamber of the kidney.
  • The Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster ride at Disney World was found to be the only effective roller coaster that helped pass kidney stones.
  • The rides space Mountain and Aerosmith's rock'n'Roll rides did not result in the passage of stones.

Dr.Wartinger concluded that rides that did not have too many twists and turns and no upside down or inverted aspects to the ride were found to be useful in the passage of kidney stone. Rides that were extremely thrilling or with a very high G force resulted in the kidney stone being pinned onto the kidney instead of being dislodged.

He said "Preliminary study findings support the anecdotal evidence that a ride on a moderate-intensity roller coaster could benefit some patients with small kidney stones. Passing a kidney stone before it reaches an obstructive size can prevent surgeries and emergency room visits. Roller coaster riding after treatments like lithotripsy and before planned pregnancies may prevent stone enlargement and the complications of ureteral obstruction."

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are formed in any individual when the substances present in the urine get too concentrated and form a solid piece. The kidney stones may remain in the kidney or may pass down the urinary tract and get attached to certain parts, leading to blockage of urine. When the size of the stone is small, the kidney stones may be passed along with the urine but if they are large, they would have to be removed with medical intervention. The blockage of urine by the kidney stones can lead to pain or bleeding.

Types of Kidney Stones
  • Calcium stones: These are the type of kidney stones that are most often formed.
  • Uric acid stone: This type of kidney stone is formed when the urine is persistently acidic.
  • Struvite stones: These kidney stones are formed when there is a kidney infection.
  • Cystine stones: These are the result of a genetic disorder that leads to the leakage of cysteine into the kidney.
Treatment for Kidney Stones

The kidney stones are removed using any of the following methods:
  • Shock wave lithotripsy: Shock waves generated by a lithotripter are used to break the kidney stones into smaller pieces that are passed out in the urine.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: A nephroscope which is a wire thin instrument, is used remove the kidney stones.
  • Ureteroscopy: A tube like instrument that has an eye piece, called ureteroscope, is used to view the kidney stones and to remove them.
Kidney stones are common with over 300,000 patients in The United States. The cost of treatment is estimated to be 2.1 million$. The study by the Michigan State University researchers could do away with treatment, at least among people suffering from kidney stones that are below 4mm.

Dr. Wartinger adds,"The osteopathic philosophy of medicine emphasizes prevention and the body's natural ability to heal. What could be more osteopathic than finding a relatively low-cost, non-invasive treatment that could prevent suffering for hundreds of thousands of patients? "

The study, if validated further, could prove to be a fun way to lose the kidney stones. This will prove to be highly beneficial for patients who are afraid of medical interventions like children. A roller coaster ride gives you a rush of adrenaline, the thrill of entertainment and a chance at losing a kidney stone, therapeutic in every sense.

References :
  1. Kidney Stones in Adults - (
Source: Medindia

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