Kidney stones, roller coasters, and the triumph of gymnast Simone Biles

The Ig Nobel Prize-winning medical study about roller coasters and kidney stones came to a top gymnast’s mind when she dealt with her own kidney stone. NBC Sports reports:

Simone Biles, with kidney stone, dominates gymnastics worlds qualifying

Simone Biles was in the emergency room past 1 a.m. on Saturday in Qatar. Didn’t look like it in world championships qualifying 17 hours later.

The four-time Rio Olympic champion endured a large kidney stone she named the “Doha Pearl,” coming back with the top all-around qualifying score thus far and all but guaranteeing a place in all four apparatus finals. The last gymnast to run the table like that in qualifying? Biles in 2013.

“I heard roller coasters may help kidney stones,” Biles said, according to the International Gymnastics Federation, “and I am basically my own little roller coaster out there.”

The 2018 Ig Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger, for using roller coaster rides to try to hasten the passage of kidney stones.

Drs. Mitchell and Wartinger documented their work, in the study “Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster,” Marc A. Mitchell, David D. Wartinger, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, vol. 116, October 2016, pp. 647-652.

You can watch Dr. Wartinger explain the kidney stones / roller coaster rides connection, at the Ig Informal Lectures, at MIT, which happened two days after this year’s Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.