Roller coasters can help pass kidney stones? Expert not convinced

October 4, 2016 | by Denise Heady

 

 

 

 

Roller coasters are known for their ability to get people’s adrenaline pumping, but a new study suggests these fast-paced rides can also offer an unexpected health benefit: helping people pass kidney stones.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association and led by researchers at Michigan State University, found riding a moderate-intensity roller coaster could facilitate passage of small kidney stones.

However, urologic oncology surgeon Clayton Lau, M.D., associate clinical professor in the Department of Surgery at City of Hope, told ABC 7 that you need more than turbulent motion to pass kidney stones.

While adrenaline may cause movement in the ureter that helps propel the stones, Lau said, “All that jostling in the back seat of a rollercoaster may loosen the stone out of the kidney, but that's only part of the journey. The ureter is 30 centimeters long.”

To test the effectiveness of roller coasters as a method to help pass kidney stones, researchers used a 3-D printed model kidney filled with urine and kidney stones of different sizes.

After 20 turns on a roller coaster with the kidney models, researchers found that 64 percent of the kidney stones successfully passed through the kidney when sitting in the back of the ride and nearly 17 percent of kidney stones passed when sitting in the front of the ride.

While preliminary findings support the idea that riding moderate-intensity roller coaster could potentially benefit some patients with small kidney stones, Lau cautions people not to go jumping on a roller coaster to get rid of kidney stones just yet.

"I think that's the last thing you want to do when you're in pain is jump on a roller coaster," Lau added.

Instead, Lau suggests drinking plenty of water and keeping a healthy diet to help kidney stones pass.

That’s a safe conclusion.

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