Have you ever suffered from painful kidney stones? How would you feel if you could cure them by riding a roller coaster a few times? Pretty great option if you ask me! Researchers have tasked themselves with seeing if riding roller coasters actually assisted in relieving kidney stones as their patients suggested and the results impressed them. The scientists took a little field trip to Disney World with a 3D printed model of a kidney and spent the day riding coasters.
"As far as having to ride the coaster repeatedly, honestly, the first five to six times were great. By the end we were just gritting our teeth and wishing to be done." David D. Wartinger
The researchers brought a 3D printed kidney that was filled with urine in a backpack that the park gave them special permission to bring it with them on three of the roller coasters. They started on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and, after 20 rides and a lot of data collection, they moved onto Space Mountain and the Walt Disney World Railroad. They ended up taking a total of 60 rides all in different locations on the coasters to see if location influenced the effects.
They found that sitting at the back of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad resulted in a 64% increase in stone passing. The front seat didn't work as well but still increased the passage rate to 17%. Their research was sparked after people had told them about the phenomenon and they even modelled their 3D kidney after one man who experienced this.
"It's not surprising that the model we used passed kidney stones on this coaster because it's based on a gentleman that passed three stones on this exact roller coaster." Wartinger
The scientists think that because everyone has a unique kidney passage pattern that not every coast will work the same for everyone. But if you have a stone smaller than 4mm it is recommended that you help it pass otherwise it could continue to grow and end up needing surgery. They intend on continuing their research to see how it could become useful for space travel. Apparently a lot of astronauts end up with kidney stones because there is no gravity to help them pass.
So next time you feel those kidney stones coming, book a ticket to Orlando and go check out Space Mountain. Maybe you can claim it on your taxes as a medical expense?