Research shows roller coasters may help people with kidney stones

by Cougar News Staff 0

The next time you suffer from kidney stones, a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain might be the best medicine.

Researchers from Michigan State University discovered that kidney stone patients who rode roller coasters ended up passing those stones 70 percent of the time.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Dr. David Wartinger said he heard from patients claiming that after riding a coaster, they would pass the stones. “I even had one patient say he passed three different stones after riding multiple times,” he said in Michigan State University’s MSU Today.

So he decided to find out.

In an initial test, Wartinger used a 3D model of a hollow kidney and three kidney stones up to 4 millimeters in length. He took the model in a backpack on Big Thunder Mountain in Walt Disney World in Florida and after 20 trips, the results matched what his patients had told him.

While sitting in the last car of the roller coaster, the model achieved a 64 percent passage rate of the stones according to Wartinger.

In a larger study, Wartinger and his team used nearly 200 different stone models of varying shape, size and weight and attached them to researchers going for the ride. Those tests produced the 70 percent passage rate while sitting in the last car.

There was one catch, however.

“Big Thunder Mountain was the only one that worked,” Wartinger said. “We tried Space Mountain and Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and both failed.”

The reason? The other rides were too fast and violent with so many G-forces at work that they pin the stones into the kidney, not allowing them to pass.

“The ideal coaster,” Wartinger said, “is rough and quick with some twists and turns, but no upside down or inverted movements.”

Still, Wartinger suggests, patients can go on a roller coaster as a form of “maintenance” possibly eliminating future costly visits to treat kidney stones with treatments that cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.

Maybe, a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain won’t cure what ails you, but it sure beats the doctor’s office.

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