Roller coasters are good for your health – if you have kidney stones you want to dislodge.
Adrenalin junkies may love roller coasters, but anyone with painful kidney stones they want to get rid of should queue up for a day on the theme park rides as well.
Doctors say the twists, turns and drops from great heights are just the tonic for patients with stones in the kidneys.
The problem is small stones become stuck passing through the small tubules inside the organ.
And anyone who suffers from having stones will tell you that the pain is excruciating.
Then after several patients told researchers at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine that their pain was relieved after riding the roller coaster at the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida.
3D replica kidneys printed for trial
One patient even remarked he rode on the roller coaster three times and after each turn, he passed a small stone.
“Three consecutive rides, three stones — that was too much to ignore,” says David Wartinger, a kidney specialist who conducted the study.
To test the stories from patients, the scientists printed 3D replica kidneys and placed small stones inside them.
They wrapped them in a back pack and then braced themselves for a day of 20 trips on the roller coaster.
The stones were about the size of a grain of rice, which is the average for a stone that passes without medical intervention.
Larger stones are often broken down with ultrasound to allow them to pass.
Vibration is vital
The scientists were astonished by their discovery and reported the findings in a medical journal.
First, the ride worked and dislodged the small stones, but that was not all.
They found that only 17% of stones were shifted by a ride up front, but when sitting at the back of the ride, 64% moved on after just one go.
The doctors believe speed makes no difference and that the vibration on the ride is all-important.
The cure has not been tried out on humans yet, but Wartinger believes the trial would be cheap, easy and above all, fun, but he does advise patients to check the treatment with their doctor first.