Eric Paulsen

Eric Paulsen

I wanted to be in radio since I was four - and four decades later I still haven't grown out of it...Full Bio


Got kidney stones? Ride this roller coaster!

Passing a kidney stone has always been noted as one of the most painful things one can experience. But according to research from Michigan State University, riding the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster at Disney World in Florida can help people pass kidney stones, and with less or no pain. 

David Wartinger is a professor emeritus in the Department of Osteopathic Surgical Specialties. His patients have claimed they were passing kidney stones "with ease" after being jolted around on the popular coaster. So, he launched a pilot study and then an expanded study where Wartinger packed up a synthetic 3D model of a hollow kidney, complete with three kidney stones no longer than 4 millimeters, inserted into the replica. He took the model in a backpack on Big Thunder Mountain and rode the coaster 20 times and found that sitting in the coaster’s last cart showed a 64 percent passage rate for his 3D model kidney. 

But it's all in where you sit on the coaster: sitting in the first few cars only had a 16 percent success rate. Either way, both studies showed a 100 percent passage rate if the stones were located in the upper chamber of the kidney.

There's something special about the Big Thunder Mountain coaster in the way it moves, too. Other coasters, like Space Mountain don't offer the same effect because they’re too fast and rough, with a G-force that pins the stone into the kidney, not allowing it to pass. The ideal coaster for passing kidney stones is rough and quick with some twists and turns, but no upside down or inverted movements, Wartinger explained.

Kidney stones, which form when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances like calcium, oxalate and uric acid than the fluid in your urine can dilute, can be very painful to pass as they make their way out of your urinary tract. Around 300,000 people go to an emergency room each year suffering from kidney stones, with treatment costs can range from $5,000 to $10,000. At least for the moment, a trip to Disney World is cheaper.

So if you want to TRY this on Big Thunder Mountain, here's a "POV" (point-of-view) video of the roller coaster ride all the way through:

Heck, maybe just watching this can help one pass a kidney stone without - or at least with minimal - pain! 

Of course if you do suffer from kidney stones, please consult your doctor before riding a coaster.

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