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Kidney Stone Research

Kidney Stone: Research


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1. Shockwaves better than surgery to treat small kidney stones

Researcher(s): Surgeons of Department of Urology at University Federico II, Naples

Currently, there are different techniques being employed for the removal of single stone that is lodged in the distal ureter after being driven out by the kidney, depending on whether its size is more or less than one centimeter.

An effective treatment for the above case, previously being used for breaking down the uretic stones, is Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL). It incorporates a non-invasive acoustic pulse for this purpose. Stones having size more than 1cm, are to be treated using uretoscopy (URS), in which a ureteroscope is pushed into the distal ureter for the removal. It was a matter of discussion for which technique from ESWL and URS should be used as a first-line strategy for this much small stones, which has now been resolved.

2. Using ultrasound to get rid of painful kidney stones

Researcher(s): National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), Smart Medical Systems and Technology Team

This treatment of using ultrasound therapy is being developed by space scientists to remove the kidney stones of astronauts which are a result of the space environment, resource scarcity and zero-gravity. The process is named as ‘twinkling artifact’.

It is being done considering the restricted treatment options in space. Firstly, imaging of the stones is done using a diagnostic ultrasound machine with enhanced capability. Then ultrasound waves passing through the skin push the small-sized stones toward the exit of the kidney, to expel them out naturally, avoiding any type of surgery. The preferred method being used widely is to drink water to let the stones pass, but this doesn’t always work. Also, the astronauts are not kept fully hydrated in space which made the researchers to find out this particular option of ultrasound.

3. Lemonade consumption can prevent kidney stones

Researcher(s): Roger L. Sur, Director, UC San Diego Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center

Lemons are one of the citrus fruits having the highest citrate (or vitamin C) concentration. Citrate is a natural inhibitor of formation of kidney stones. Other fruit juices are said to have less citrate concentrations and are supplemented with calcium and oxalate, the main constituents of kidney stones. In fact, calcium oxalate is the main compound found in most of the common kidney stones. Kidney stones are also formed by excess of salt in the diet. Salt aggravates excretion of calcium through urine. According to the researchers, reduction in the intake of common salt helps in prevention of forming such stones.

In a recent study conducted by Roger L. Sur, drinking 4oz. of reconstituted lemon juice mixed with 2L. of water per day slows down the stone formation from 1.00 to 0.13 stones/patient. A usual prescription of potassium citrate is being given by the doctors to the patients prone to stone formation, which can be consumed in the form of a pill and also in liquid form. But lemon juice is full of natural citrate. Researchers avoid adding too much sugar contents in lemonade or using alternative options for sugar in lemonade as excess of sugar is not good for health.

4. Study finds no link between kidney stone treatment and diabetes

Researcher(s): Matthew Gettman, M.D., Mayo Clinic urologist

There were rumors of correlation between the use of a widely used kidney treatment called ‘shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL)’ and its long-term use causing diabetes. ESWL is a non-surgical method of kidney stone treatment which uses high-energy shock waves for breaking the stones into tiny fragments which then pass through the urinal passage. The cause of the rumors was the fact that the therapy is known to affect the pancreas in some patients and as pancreas play a vital role in triggering diabetic symptoms, it was a matter of concern for many researchers to use the treatment or not.

5. Drinking iced tea elevates kidney stones risk: urologist

Researcher(s): Dr. John Milner, Asst. professor, Dept. of Urology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill.

According to the researchers, drinking iced tea on a regular basis could play a major role in production of kidney stones. Iced tea is found to have high concentrations of oxalate, which is a key ingredient for forming kidney stones. According to Dr. Milner, it is the worst drink to be consumed, especially if a person has a high tendency to develop kidney stones.

Iced tea is a very popular beverage in summers as it is comparatively tastier than many other fluids, but doctors suggest that nothing is better than water to drink in summer for kidney stone prone people, maybe flavored with some lemon slices.

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