The occurrence of kidney stones in the bodies of people in the world has sky rocketed throughout the recent years. Just in the United States, an estimated 1 million people are experiencing these in just a year’s time. These stones are usually no bigger than a grain of rice, but some are known to grow a few centimeter in diameter. The diet of the consumer as well as their genetics play a large part in the making of kidney stones. While they are not usually deadly, kidney stone will leave people in excruciating pain, which is why researchers are shifting their focus to the causes and ways to solve this universal issue.
Research scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are finally gathering some evidence for the cause of kidney stones, in hopes to prevent it from occurring. They are testing mice, which seems to be the animal used for most researches, to figure out what happens and why it happens. When urine becomes too concentrated, minerals begin to stick together, creating these painful kidney stones. The University discovered that there is a genetic variation in a gene known as claudin-14, which can increase the risk of developing kidney stones by as much as 65 percent. Usually, this gene is not active in the kidneys, but with too much calcium or salt and not enough water, one’s RNA will release the claudin-14. With the knowledge of how kidney stones are being created, there are hopes of preventing in from happening in the first place.
University Medical Center Freiburg and researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM are inventing a diagnostic system for the analysis of kidney stones. It’s supposed to assess an individual’s risk and identify metabolic abnormalities that the patient might have. The research team uses a technique called Raman spectroscopy, which is an inexpensive way to characterize and precisely discover the kind of stone. The cases of kidney stones will be easier to identify once the doctor uses this technique.
Currently, if a kidney stone is not dissolved, doctors try using methods like extracorporeal shock-wave therapy, but the University of Washington has started testing the use of ultrasounds to move kidney stones. The shock therapy can land the patient in the emergency room one more time, and eventually they are required to drink water and wait for it to come out. The low intensity waves from the ultrasounds is just enough to move the stone to a spot it can easily leave the body from. This method can potentially save millions of dollars in the United States.
Kidney Stones are overtaking many citizens’ kidneys, leaving them in horrendous pain. Researchers are hoping to find new information everyday about these stones and how they affect our population. With this, they can help ease the pain many suffer, or stop it at once. Almost one in ten people experience kidney stones throughout their lifetime. New technology is being created to help save money and pain that is caused by these kidney stones occurrence.
- What age and gender has a higher chance at getting kidney stones?
- What countries have more people per capita getting kidney stones? Which have the least?
- How much does it cost to have kidney stones removed?