There are other kidney designs to consider, too, as every person’s calyceal system is different, like a fingerprint. But the idea is that if you rode a variety of roller coasters in a short period of time, that would help you pass small stones and lingering sediment before it accumulates into debilitating, costly, obstructive stones.
Still to know if this works for sure, he’d need a prospective clinical trial using real people with real kidneys. I suggested that would be difficult. He said no, he has it all planned out: Take people with kidney stones and do an ultrasound before the ride and after, and see if the stone moves. Wartinger couldn’t do that right away because universities’ institutional review boards would require experimental evidence to prove the concept first.
This he seems to have done duly on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, with attention to detail. For example, I thought I was just clarifying one such detail when I asked if the “urine” described in the model he brought to Disney was actually water. It was water, right?
“No, it was urine. It was mine.”
I still wasn’t sure if he was serious. I have no problem with urine, it’s just the idea of showing up at Disney with a urine-loaded kidney in your backpack.
“Yeah, I used dilute urine. I spent my life playing in pee. I don’t have that aversion to urine that most people have. The reason I didn’t use water is it would’ve put another variable in there that wasn’t real. So I used real urine … to avoid criticism.”
It seems he thought of everything. Including the fact that people will hear about this study and act on it before it’s validated in human trials. So his advice for now: If you know you have a stone that’s smaller than five millimeters, riding a series of roller coasters could help you pass that stone before it gets to an obstructive size and either causes debilitating colic or requires a $10,000 procedure to try and break it up. And even once a stone is broken up using shock waves, tiny fragments and “dust” remain that need to be passed. The coaster could help with that, too.
For people who hate roller coasters, like a number of people I’ve run this idea by, the ultimate goal would be a more clinical experience—a way to move people in a controlled environment that would help them pass stones organically. Instead of sending people to a theme park, you might go down the hall to a 3-D rollercoaster with a prescription for a precise pattern of pitches, yaws, and rolls designed around your particular kidney anatomy and the location of your particular stone.