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Medicine Earth News Science Technology

Roller Coasters Could Help People Pass Kidney Stones, Says Study (nbcnews.com) 126

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: Two researchers who took science to the amusement park say they've found that a thrilling roller coaster ride just might help people shake out pesky kidney stones. Dr. David Wartinger of Michigan State University said he'd heard patient after patient tell him about how they had passed kidney stones after riding one particular ride: the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Walt Disney World in Orlando. He and a colleague, Dr. Marc Mitchell, had also seen some media reports about people who passed kidney stones while bungee jumping and riding roller coasters. So they decided to leave East Lansing to head to Orlando in the name of medical research. To simulate the human body as best they could, they made an artificial human kidney model out of clear silicone gel and loaded it up with real human kidney stones. They rode the roller coaster holding their kidney contraption between them in a backpack positioned at kidney height. They took 20 rides and noted what happened to each kidney stone. Riding in the back of the roller coaster train seemed to really knock the kidney stones out, they reported in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. "Front seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of four of 24," they wrote. "Rear seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of 23 of 36." They mainly tested the one roller coaster ride, and it's a fairly simple one. "The Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster is not a terribly dynamic ride," Wartinger said. "It's not very fast. It is not very tall. It makes sharp left and right turns that have some vibration." Wartinger suspects many different thrill rides would have the same effect. "It's not like there anything unique about this one coaster," he said. The pair have now run their test 200 more times and say the findings are consistent. Now they want to try other amusement park rides.
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Roller Coasters Could Help People Pass Kidney Stones, Says Study

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  • You got this from Flintstones, 3-Stooges, and/or Onion.com

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 26, 2016 @10:34PM (#52967259)

    Science confirms the theory of thrill rides scaring the piss out of you

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @10:41PM (#52967297) Journal

      I've had a kidney stone, and I'll tell you the LAST thing I wanted to do during all that pain was hop on a roller coaster. I didn't want to move, period, even after bigass pain meds.

      It was the most painful thing I ever felt. I invented several new vowels and cuss-words, some Klingon, and repented to every deity I could think of. (Its effects vary per person and per stone, though.)

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        I'm with you.

        • Me too. The idea of traveling to a theme park and standing in line for an hours is just ludicrous.

          • by sconeu ( 64226 )

            I can just see the Prescription Fast Pass.... "Go to the front of the line with your doctor's prescription! Prescription Fast Pass(r)!!!!"

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I've never had a kidney stone but doesn't ultrasound break them up? https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones_shockwave
        Guess the one good thing about a roller coaster is nobody will think screaming (in pain) to be out of place.

        • I had abdominal pain and vomiting, went in for an ultrasound which found nothing, and ended up in the ER the next day with a "massive" kidney stone found via contrast X-ray. Several mm, I forget the exact measure. So if the ultrasound broke anything up looking for them, they must've recrystallized into the big one... in any case, laser lithotripsy was used to demolish my stone. As far as the OP's stories of excruciating pain, I can say that for my type of stone I only had to drink a glass of orange juice
          • Mine was a 8x7mm stone, not huge but large enough to block the ureter. The pain was excruciating. It's like nothing else - i've had women who went through multiple labors grade the kidney stone as worse. Dilaudid touched it nicely during the 4 days in the hospital, but I required dosing every few hours and I wouldn't have been able to do anything but sleep on that. When they tried percocet, it was taking 20mg every 4 hours and that wasn't touching it. I would arch my back above a bed because resting on

            • Over supplementation of Vitamin D (particularly D2) is known to cause oxalate stones. I have a metabolic disorder characterized by low D levels, and my endocrinologist had me supplement heavily. The end result was that I was taking powdered kidney stone pills, essentially.

              Just FYI

        • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

          They didn't offer me that option even though I asked about it. It was a laser they used. I didn't know I could feel that much pain.

      • by grcumb ( 781340 )

        I've had a kidney stone, and I'll tell you the LAST thing I wanted to do during all that pain was hop on a roller coaster.

        Amen, brother. I had heroin suppositories[*] keeping mine down to a deafening roar before my medevac, and I still couldn't even sit upright before the pain got the better of me. Talk about the cure being worse than the disease.

        [*] From the ridiculous to the sublime, as it were.

      • My kidney stone was fairly huge when discovered, and so did not attempt to pass itself, therefore no pain. My urologist went in with a laser and turned it into little grains of sand. OK, I bled for 2 weeks afterward, got used to seeing red pee, and still half-expect to see red pee now a year later. But it has healed. Still, it would be preferable to jump on a coaster, dislodge a sand-grain-sized kidney stone such as I passed AfTER my laser surgery, and 1) not have any pain and 2) not have any surgery

        • Still, it would be preferable to jump on a coaster, dislodge a sand-grain-sized kidney stone such as I passed AfTER my laser surgery, and 1) not have any pain and 2) not have any surgery and 3) not have any bleeding.

          I doubt that the number 3 is possible.
          In the study they used silicone models of kidneys and the ureter. Silicone tends not to bleed. Or feel pain.

          In fact, the original observation was with bungee jumpers in Taiwan [taiwantodaynews.com] having "severe pain in the back and stomach about 10 minutes after the activity".
          So, number 1 would still be painful.
          On the other hand, getting it dislodged and moved down to ureter without surgery should make it easier to break it up and pass it.

      • Re:In other words (Score:5, Informative)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @03:33AM (#52968057)

        Being in the club myself, I guess the idea is to go on a roller coaster ride BEFORE it clogs something and hence starts to hurt.

        And for those that don't know the wonderful feelings of kidney stones that wedged themselves into some tender parts of yours, we're not talking about huge boulders. Something the size of a grain of salt can well become your personal nightmare.

      • Every time I have had a kidney stone crisis A: I didn't want to move B: I wanted to stay very near a toilet C: I projectile vomited until my stomach was empty, then kept on vomiting (good news for the passengers behind me !!)
      • I could see this working. I've had them 3 separate times. First two passed after....riding in a car down a bumpy road on the way to the hospital. Not comfortable, but they passed. Third time it was too big. Needed surgery. The stent they shoved up there was almost as painful, particularly when they yanked it out a few days later! My dick looked like a candle with the stent's little string poking out (had to yank it out some way!)
      • by Evtim ( 1022085 )

        My worst pain ever was [very badly] dislocated shoulder joint....after 3 hours when it was finally put back and I could think straight again I asked the doctor what was that magical substance they put in my blood prior to adjusting the joint which removed all the pain within seconds after the administration, he said it was morphine. Surprised I asked "Isn't morphine reserved for really terrible pain?" - I was thinking Hollywood movies where people getting shot at get a shot of morphine:) and also cancer pat

        • Giving birth is fortunately excluded due to gender...phew!

          For now. You never know what medical science will come up with next. Maybe in 25 years it'll be normal for men to be getting pregnant (probably not naturally of course) and giving birth. Their wives will probably demand it for the 2nd baby, since she had to go through all the pain and misery for the first one, so it's only fair that he do it for the second. And since natural conception will probably become obsolete by then anyway, in favor of gen

      • Sure, during renal colic this would be crazy. But the stones are there a long time before they cause issues. Before a painful attack, or after the cramps are under control and perhaps your ureters are dilated with tamsulosin, maybe this is just the thing to shake em out.
      • by ebvwfbw ( 864834 )

        When you're having that kind of pain, it's generally too late. You've likely got a good infection going on in there, which is what you're feeling. that jagged stone poking it.

        Preventative maintenance. Ride roller coasters.

  • by ravenshrike ( 808508 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @10:36PM (#52967275)

    "Well, the only thing at amusement parks that causes many rapid shifts in the human body are roller coasters. Now we need a reason to ride them."

    "I know, we'll make up some bullshit about kidney stones."

      - 1 day of roller coaster rides later

    "Holy shit, it actually had an effect. Now we have an excuse to come back here for the next 3 weekends."

    • I suppose this will spur research into centrifuge therapy to help patients pass kidney stones.

      In about 25 or 30 years the technology will be well-studied enough that we'll see the first installation in a major hospital, and maybe 10 years after that the insurance companies will cover the treatment costs.

      Just like how MRI machines were developed.

      (In the mean time, doctors will advise kidney stone patients to stay off of roller coasters, because there's no evidence that the therapy is safe or effective.)

      • If they did go that way, couldn't people just swing?
      • because there's no evidence that the therapy is safe or effective

        It's clearly effective. They got the idea from bungee jumpers whose kidney stones "shook out" after jumping.
        Trouble is, in humans, unlike with their silicone simulator, it's the passing the stone that hurts. A lot.

        Meaning that they will have to warn both kidney patients and amusement parks about it.
        Or they can just ignore it and we can all just sit back and wait for youtube videos of Mickey and Pluto trying to give CPR to someone lying on the ground howling in pain while pissing themselves.
        You know... e

    • ... have been already awarded for this year.

      But hey, let's add one more idea:

      Plutonium toothpaste, anyone ?

    • Another thing that causes many rapid shifts in the human body is sex, if you're doing it right. These researchers must truly be geeks not to have thought of that.

      Roller coasters? Pfffft! Give me sex any day; if you fall off, you don't have as far to fall.
  • After 20+ kidney stones, I would give this a try.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      I've only had one. I was begging them to kill me for a while, until the drugs took hold.

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Been there, done that. Basically had to go to the max dose of oxycontin just to take the edge off the pain.

        This page [rmg.co.uk] you can see some pictures of the procedure and instruments people used on kidney stones in the 1600s. It seems unimaginable that anyone would subject themselves to that -- without anesthetic -- unless you've actually experienced it.

        • by sconeu ( 64226 )

          I got Tornadol. Good shit. On top of everything else, it was Xmas eve!!!

          • Morphine. Only thing that works with my fucked up system when it comes to killing pain.

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            You mean Toradol or Tramadol? Both are pain meds the first is stronger then the second, both can be delivered by IV, oral or suppository and both have a short-term and long-term dosing version(12hr). Those are the only two I know of that come close to that spelling and I've been on my fair share of pain meds after I broke my back, from oxycontin and hydromorphone to buprenorphine.

            • Dilaudid was the only thing that made the pain go away. Vicoden ES would work to take the edge off enough to function.

              Didn't try morphine or oxycontin until I was being treated for cancer, so not sure how it does for stone.

              Found out I had a parathyroid adenoma. Had one of my parathyroids removed and the stones went away for quite some time. I still get small ones, but nothing that requires a doctor's care.

            • by sconeu ( 64226 )

              Toradol. I was pretty f***ed up when they told me. It was also almost 20 years ago.

              • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

                Gotcha. Was curious, something I like to watch since I have to move to different pain meds every few years due to a resistance buildup.

    • You have had more than 20 kidney stones? You might need to change your diet.
    • 20? If I were you, I'd be on a coaster every weekend!!! Buy a season ticket. NOW!

    • Yep, my doc reckoned, swimming helps & playing something like basketball so I can see why a roller coaster would help.

  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @10:54PM (#52967339)
    Just do sports. Exercise regularly.
    • I had my first kidney stone after doing a regularly biweekly several hours Judo session in college. It certainly worked to knock one of them loose, but I'm not sold on exercise as a preventative measure.
  • I really should have brainstormed more before deciding on my 8th grade science fair project.

    This is actually pretty cool, and it was cool of WDW for allowing them to do the research. The fact that there was such a stark contrast between the front and rear positions and that it was so reliably reproducible definitely invites further study on precisely which movements best facilitate passage.

  • To simulate the human body as best they could, they made an artificial human kidney model out of clear silicone gel and loaded it up with real human kidney stones...

    Don't be surprised when actual patients pass spherical cows.

  • Too bad this just got published. It'd be a travesty if this doesn't earn a spot in next years ig Nobel prize.

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    "The concept design of the layout begins with a steep-angled lift to the 510-metre (1,670 ft) (0.317 mile) top, which would take two minutes for the 24-passenger train to reach.[1] From there, a 500-metre (1,600 ft) drop would take the train to 360 kilometres per hour (220 mph), close to its terminal velocity, before flattening out and speeding into the first of its seven slightly clothoid inversions.[3] Each inversion would have a smaller diameter than the one before in ord

  • Hey editor, did you ever think about the meaning of the word "summary" and how to apply it to a wall of text you present to your readers?
  • Next topic.
  • So thats why people scream on rollercoasters. The poor bastards are passing kidney stones.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday September 26, 2016 @11:46PM (#52967545)

    Now six flags can change $600 a day and get it from your healthcare plan. medicare rate $40.

  • I can say from experience that go-karts work very well too. Just bump into each other a lot.

    • SCCA Solo 2 has a class for karts, shifter karts to be exact, and those are some of the scariest rides on the planet. And they'll give you a helluva shaking especially if the Solo 2 venue is not entirely smooth. So it'll scare the piss out of you and shake the kidney stone out of you.

      You can get full-up, "used very little" shifter kart setups pretty cheap as racing hardware goes - less than $10K in a lotta cases for absolutely everything you need - because people buy 'em, put 'em on the track, it scares

  • Physics works. Stones, children, vomit, crap.... It is all the same, enough gs, anything will work its way out.

  • Maybe those old vibrating belt weight loss machines would work for this, though not as much fun.

  • So, most of the people screaming on the coaster now will be what we are used to (mostly teenagers on a date -- been there, done that). However, there will also be one 60 year old guy at the back of each car who really has a good reason to scream. I'm betting he doesn't buy his picture from the "buy your picture here" guy at the end of the ride because who would want to be reminded of that?

    • A pic of that happy moment you go from insane pain to painlessness? You betcha that people want a pic of that!

  • by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @02:07AM (#52967891)

    From TFA:

    "Riding in the back of the roller coaster train seemed to really knock the kidney stones out..."

    Why would this be? What forces apply at the back of the train that don't apply at the front or the middle?

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @05:25AM (#52968277)

      G-forces are higher in the back of the train, at least for the downhill parts. While the front goes over apex points at a slow speed, the train is already picking up speed downhill when you arrive at this point with the back of the train. Of course the train, in total, goes at the same speed, but what matters is what point you're sitting at when it has a certain speed.

    • by NoSalt ( 801989 )
      Think of it like a bullwhip. The hand (i.e., the front) is moving relatively slow compared to the end (i.e., the back) of the whip; and, the end is where we get the little sonic boom.
  • So rollercoasters may have medical benefits...

    Time to open a medical weed store and rollercoaster business.....

    Get stoned, pass a stone.....
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why they a reporting these "fun" and bad science results instead of real science.
    It requires equal amount of time to find them from Nature or some other top level science publishers.
    At least technical people in Slashdot should be interested in them.

    These news try to undermine importance and role of science in society.

    Tomas Ukkonen

  • Can I get a prescription for amusement park access and get it paid for by healthcare?
  • I don't know about kidney stones, but it helped me with weight loss. I'm sure I got rid of everything I'd eaten for the past week!

  • Will this be covered under Medical Insurance for Kidney Stone Therapy :)
    • Yes, there is an amendment for the Affordable Care Act being passed through congress as we speak dubbed "Obama Scare", it guarantees all US citizens the right to free entry to theme parks if they have Kidney Stones.

  • So, in addition to being puked on, we now have this to add to the mix. Great...
  • They held a fake kidney against their bodies whilst riding the roller coaster. I imagine that could have been quite hazardous if they accidentally dropped it during the ride and it struck a fellow passenger.

    "Welcome to 'Speed Thunder Scare Mountain Ninja', please keep all hands, legs, and fake kidneys inside the car at all times"

  • When I was in college, the doctor told me I had a bladder infection and gave me antibiotics. I then took the train to see my parents for Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving dinner, I had the urgent need to pee. Standing over the toilet, I watched something big moving slowly through my penis like a snake swallowing a chicken egg. When the stone popped out into the toilet, all this blood, pus and urine rushed out nonstop for ten minutes. After I flushed the toilet, I never felt so better. Passing a kidney stone
  • Any idea if rollercoasters work on gallstone removal? I suppose the only way to know would be a thorough excrement search. I certainly don't want that job!!
  • Citric Acid + Potassium Citrate syrup will prevent stones in kidney
    http://www.medplusmart.com/pro... [medplusmart.com]

  • Getting a jump on next year's igNobel awards, eh?

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