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Rollercoaster therapy: Riding a rollercoaster may actually help you pass a kidney stone


(NaturalNews) Rollercoasters are an integral part of many family vacations. But they may also help some people to release kidney stones, at least according to urological surgeon David Wartinger. Dr. Wartinger is also an emeritus professor at Michigan State University, and has spent decades dealing with and studying kidney stones.

Approximately one out of every 10 people will deal with a kidney stone at some point in their life. These stones are often small and relatively easy to pass. Most often, kidney stones are formed by calcium deposits and other debris. These types of stones occur most frequently in men, and one of the biggest risk factors is not drinking enough water. It is common for small kidney stones to pass through the system unnoticed, but if they are not passed quickly, they can grow in size and become very painful.

Over the course of his years in practice, Dr. Wartinger noticed that many people reported passing kidney stones either during or immediately following their trips to Disneyland or other amusement parks. Due to the significant number of people in his hometown who go on vacation at around the same time every year, Dr. Wartinger was able to notice the potential correlation. He told The Atlantic, "This mass migration helped bring it to my attention."

Wartinger says that one gentleman in particular highlighted the phenomenon as something that could not be ignored. This particular man reported having passed a kidney stone after riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney's Magic Kingdom. But, he didn't stop there – he rode the ride again and passed two more stones the second time around too. Now this man's report had piqued Dr. Wartinger's interest. He said, "That was just too powerful to ignore. I'd been hearing these anecdotal stories for a couple years, and then I thought, okay, there's really something here."

After all, there could be enormous benefits to thousands of people if he could find a way to help people pass kidney stones while these were still small. Realizing what had to be done, Dr. Wartinger had already started compiling data when he noticed another similarity in these stories: All of the people who were passing kidney stones had reported riding Big Thunder Mountain prior to passing the stone. Wartinger also found anecdotal stories of people passing stones after bungee jumping, but no research had been done on this bodily-movement approach to kidney stones. Like a true scientist, the doctor knew he had to take matters into his own hands to study this veritable enigma.

To begin this ambitious endeavor, Wartinger first developed a three-dimensional model of his three-time kidney stone-passer's kidney. He then filled the artificial kidney with stones and urine. Then, he and his colleague Marc Mitchell packed their bags and headed for Orlando.

Before beginning their experiment, of course, the duo sought permission from Disney World. Dr. Wartinger commented on what good luck they had at guest services, and said, "We told them what our intent was, and it turned out that the manager that day was a guy who recently had a kidney stone. He called the ride manager and said, do whatever you can to help these guys, they're trying to help people with kidney stones."

Apparently, other parks the team has visited have not been so inviting.

In order to conduct their experiment, of course, the pair had to ride the ride. What they found was astonishing; riding in the rear car resulted in the kidney stones passing 63.89 percent of the time. However, there was a tremendous disparity between riding at the front and riding in the back; the front car only yielded stone passage 16.67 percent of the time. Dr. Wartinger noted that there was a substantial difference in force depending on where they were sitting on the ride.

The results so far have been very promising. In his report, Dr. Wartinger stated, "Preliminary study findings support the anecdotal evidence that a ride on a moderate-intensity roller coaster could benefit some patients with small kidney stones."





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