My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Michigan State University Study suggests rollercoaster help patients pass Kidney Stones

Monday, October 17, 2016

How Michigan State University Study suggests rollercoaster help patients pass Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are mineral deposits found in urine. So is there an easy to get rid of them?

Turns out it may be as simple as riding a rollercoaster as reported in the article “Riding rollercoasters makes it easier to pass kidney stones” published Sep 26, 2016 by Angela Chen, The Verge.

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A study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association was conducted by urologist Dr. David Wartinger at Michigan State University and co-author Dr. Marc Mitchell tested the idea of using rollercoasters to allow patients to dislodge kidney stones. Most interestingly, this requires no doctor's visit; anyone with kidney stones can try this.

There has been no previous study on what causes humans to pass kidney stones. General, it's known that some types of physical labour will loosen kidney stones:

1.      Bungee jumping
2.      Bouncing on a trampoline
3.      Dirt bike riding
4.      Violent sneeze

Pregnant women often pass kidney stones after taking vitamin supplements. However, doctors had not yet isolated a single trigger that was reproducible....until now.

So what exactly are kidney stones?

What are kidney Stones - Drink more Water as Dehydration plays a role

A kidney stone, also called Nephrolithiasis, is a hard crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Humans have a risk of developing kidney stones based on the following factors:

1.      Decrease in urine volume
2.      Excess of stone-forming substances in the urine
3.      Dehydration i.e. not drinking enough water

1 in 20 or 5% of humans develope kidney stones and is mainly due to dehydration as I'd explained in my blog article entitled “How to find work in Jamaica at Call Centers - Drink Bottled Water as Dehydration and Salty Foods makes you lose concentration”. 

The symptoms are very severe:

1.      Sever pain in mid-region and groin area of the body
2.      Hematuria or blood in urine

The smaller stones, roughly 4mm in size, can often be harmlessly passed through the ureter to the bladder on their own. The larger stones require lithotripsy or surgical techniques, with ultrasound being used to confirm that they have indeed been passed. But passing kidney stones is a painful affair and is usually accompanies by some Hematuria.

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Clearly though, drinking more water can help prevent the formation of kidney stones, preferably the usual 8 glasses a day. However, the two had been hearing anecdotal tales from their patients of riding rollercoasters and passing kidneys stones, particularly from one of their patients.

So they decided to try it out for themselves.

How Rollercoaster can help pass kidney stones - Gravity and sudden turns did the trick

They did a test using a 3D printed silicon kidney filled with urine and packed inside of a backpack the same height of a typical person as described in the article “How a Roller Coaster Can Help You Pass a Kidney Stone”, published 9/26/16 by George Dvorsky, Gizmodo.

More interestingly, the modelled the kidney after one of their patient that had claimed he consistently passed kidney stones while on Walt Disney World's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to quote Dr. David Wartinger: “A kidney looks like a tree with branches. The forces move the stone from being positioned where a leaf is located, down through the branches and out through the trunk—and onward to the bladder. It’s not surprising that the model we used passed kidney stones on this coaster because it’s based on a gentleman that passed three stones on this exact roller coaster”.

Thus, based on this anecdotal information, they took their test subject (can I call it that?) to Walt Disney World where they rode the following rides as follows:

1.      20 rides on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 
2.      20 rides on the Space Mountain
3.      20 rides on the Walt Disney World railroad

Here’s a video of each of these rides to get an idea of how they look.

Firs, try out Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Ok, now take a ride in Space Mountain.

Finally try out Walt Disney World railroad

Albeit the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad isn't a very hard ride to endure, the moderate left, right and drops cause the test subject to respond in an interesting way:

1.      64% chance of passing kidney stones if sitting in the back
2.      17% chance of passing kidney stones if sitting in the front

It makes sharp left and right turns, but doesn’t have huge drops or climbs and children often ride it. Still, even this moderate movement showed promising results: sitting in the back of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad caused stones to be passed by the silicon kidney 64 percent of the time. Sitting in the front caused the stones to be passed 17 percent of the time.

The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad also dislodged the smaller 4mm stones. So what does this all mean?

Removing Kidney Stones helps Three Groups - High G Forces needed in Jamaica

This finding, which is reproducible by other scientist in the world, means that gravity can be used to dislodge kidney stones.

It can help the following types of people with kidney stones:

1.      Patients with small 4mm kidney stones
2.      Patients with larger kidney stones
3.      Young pregnant women planning to become pregnant why have kidney stones

The larger stones can be vibrated into smaller fragments using very high frequency ultrasound. Clearly more research.....and rides on more terrifying roller coasters and other rides that have high G needed.

But on a practical side, this is more of a reason why Jamaica needs to have a theme park with a rollercoaster, as it’s guaranteed that kidney stone suffers could take a ride and lose a stone.

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