Disney World Cures Kidney Stones: Facts About Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Roller Coaster

Disney World Cures Kidney Stones: Facts About Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Roller Coaster
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Luis Brizzante / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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For those who are not fans of roller coaster rides, you might want to reconsider this new study that claims riding Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Roller Coaster could actually cure kidney stones.


Several years ago, some patients have claimed that riding some of Disney’s roller coaster rides, especially the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Roller Coaster had helped improve their ailing kidney, particularly in passing their kidney stones.

How Kidney Stones Develop

Kidney stones occur when particles in the urine, particularly calcium, solidify and became crystals. Although humans can tolerate solidified crystals in the urine for up to 4mm, beyond that size is another story and in most cases, it usually ends up in the emergency room.

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But according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, kidney stones can be easily and painlessly passed while riding the infamous Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Roller Coaster, one of the popular attractions in the Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Roller Coaster Ride and Kidney Stones

David Wartinger, professor emeritus at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, who co-authored the study, described the pain of passing the kidney stone similar to that of “giving birth to a porcupine,” the Discover Magazine reported.

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In order to investigate whether riding roller coaster can actually help passing kidney stone painlessly, the researcher made a 3-D printed model of the kidney in tow. The model mimics almost the same mechanics that are happening in a person’s kidney while riding a roller coaster.

After 20 trials, the researchers have found out that the kidney stones have been moved. But the rate did differ dependent on where the person sits on the ride. If the person sits in front of the coaster, the rate of passing the kidney stone was 17 percent, but if the person sits at the back of the ride, where jolts and movements are at its peak, it increases to 64 percent.

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