Riding on a roller coaster really can remove kidney stones

It sounds more like the work of science fiction than science fact.
But riding on a roller coaster really could remove a kidney stone.
The bizarre finding comes from a group of US researchers who found that patients who were shaken during a ride actually dislodged their stones.
The Big Thunder Mountain Railway at Disney World is an effective way to remove kidney stones (Picture: Gian94g/Wikimedia Commons)
The work has just been awarded an Ig Nobel prize – the anti-Nobels – which are spoof prizes that make people laugh but then actually think.
Many of the topics nominated actually have a serious point to them and all are scientifically true and have been published in respected journals.
The inspiration behind the roller coaster research began several years ago when one of Prof David Wartinger’s patients at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine returned from a holiday trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.
Cambridge University students strip down naked to raise money for charity
The patient reported that one of his kidney stones became dislodged after a ride on the Big Thunder Mountain ride.
The unnamed patient wondered if this was just coincidence and so continued to ride.
Sure enough, each time he went on the roller coaster another stone popped out.
Prof Wartinger was intrigued and so built a silicone model of his patient’s renal system, complete with fake kidney stones.
Kidney stones in Prof David Wartinger’s office (Picture: G.L. Kohuth/Michigan State University)
He then took it with him on numerous rides to check out the theory.
He found that some rides were more effective than others in removing stones depending how much they ‘rattle’ the rider.
Big Thunder Mountain was indeed effective because it involves many up and down and side to side movements.
Non-verbal children are not being taught to read and write. It's time to teach us too
It proved more effective than Space Mountain or Rock and Rollercoaster, which involve longer drops.
Other awards to win an Ig Nobel, include a study by scientists in Britain, Tanzania and Zimbabwe who calculated that the calorie intake from a human cannibalism diet was significantly lower than from ‘most other traditional meat diets.’
The winner in the economics category went to researchers investigating whether it is effective for employees to use voodoo dolls to retaliate against bullying bosses.
Turns out, it is better to deal with the underlying issue than stick pins in dolls.
David Wartinger, left, accepts his Ig Nobel award from Nobel laureate Wolfgang Ketterle (Picture: AP)
The Chemistry award went to research that settled the issue of whether human saliva is a good cleaning agent for dirty surfaces. It is – especially for fragile, painted areas on ceramics, and on gold leaf.
Meanwhile the prize for biology went to those who demonstrated that wine experts can identify, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine – a joint effort by academics in Colombia, Germany, France, Sweden and Switzerland.
At the awards ceremony, held at Harvard University in Cambridge, US, each winner has 60 seconds to deliver an acceptance speech.
The time limit is strictly enforced by an eight-year-girl who says ‘please stop I’m bored’ several times until the speaker finishes.

Got a story for Metro.co.uk? If you have a story for our news team, email us at webnews@metro.co.uk.
You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.