Roller Coaster Rides Help Pass Kidney Stones

November 27, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. remedy / ˈrɛm ɪ di / (n.) – a form of medical treatment
Example: Gargling hot water with salt is a popular home remedy for sore throat.

2. manifestation / ˌmæn ə fəˈsteɪ ʃən / (n.) – a sign or indication
Example: Having fever and muscle pain may be manifestations of a flu.

3.  thrill ride / ˈθrɪl raɪd / (n.) – a fast-paced and very exciting amusement park ride
Example: The park unveiled new thrill rides, including its tallest roller coaster.

4. enthusiast / ɛnˈθu ziˌæst / (n.) – someone who shows great interest in something
Example: You can see that he is a book enthusiast from the number of novels he has.

5. enhance / ɛnˈhæns / (v.) – to make something better
Example: Exercise enhances a person’s immune system.


Read the text below.
Roller coaster rides have been found to be an alternative remedy to kidney stones.

Some people in the United States reported that riding a roller coaster caused their kidney stones to come out. They described feeling a sudden force in their lower abdomen, sharp back pain, and pressure in the bladder, which are manifestations of passing a stone. One visitor reportedly passed stones thrice after three consecutive rides at Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

After hearing such claims from several amusement park goers, Michigan State University professor David Wartinger collaborated with urologist Marc Mitchell to conduct a study.

For the study, the researchers constructed a 3D-printed silicone model of a kidney with urine and some stones. Then, the researchers rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 60 times while holding the model near their kidneys. They found that sitting at the back of the roller coaster resulted to a 64% success rate in passing a kidney stone.

The researchers also tested their theory on two other roller coasters, which are both faster than Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – the Space Mountain and Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. However, the experiment revealed that the speed of the two rides did not facilitate the passage of kidney stones. Thus, in conclusion, they found that rollercoasters with average speed worked best in passing stones.

Further research suggests that going on thrill rides like roller coasters entail other health benefits. A different study found that thrill rides can also burn calories. According to the study, a single roller coaster ride can burn around 70 calories.

Writer and roller coaster enthusiast Pete Trabucco also claimed that these rides enhance mental health and relieve stress. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you believe that riding the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad can help pass kidney stones? Why or why not?
·         Do you think that researchers should continue looking for alternative remedies to address health concerns? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think do a lot of people enjoy thrill rides? Discuss.
·         Do you think that the benefits of going on thrill rides are greater than the risks involved? Why or why not? 

November 27, 2016