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Cure for Kidney Stones: Riding a Rollercoaster?

By Robert Geimer

Researchers from Michigan State University claim that riding a rollercoaster may help patients pass kidney stones.  According to an article in the current issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, after learning that a number of patients described passing kidney stones after riding the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad rollercoaster at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, researchers constructed an artificial human kidney – complete with kidney stones – and took it for a ride.  They found that in the front seat, a stone was passed in 4 of 24 trials; in the back of the roller coaster, a stone was passed in 23 of 36 trials.  The authors theorize that the motion of the roller coaster helps knock stones loose so they can be passed out of the kidney.  This is research that can safely be described as, ahem, thrilling.

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