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Philadelphia Inquirer: Can a $55 water bottle prevent kidney stones? Penn and CHOP aim to find out.

By September 14, 2017September 21st, 2017No Comments

Armed with a big federal grant, Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) are teaming up to prevent kidney stones, an excruciatingly painful condition that is increasing in both adults and children.

Along with three other institutions, they’ll be part of a clinical trial testing whether a $55 “smart” water bottle that sends data on how much users drink to a phone app, plus financial incentives, can keep people of all ages who’ve had one kidney stone from getting another one.

“The goal of this grant is to look at kidney stones as a disease that can occur over a lifetime,” said Greg Tasian, a pediatric urologist and epidemiologist at CHOP who will co-lead the local effort.  “It’s the same disease that’s happening at different ages.”

About one in 11 Americans has had a kidney stone, 70 percent more than 15 years ago. Kidney stones are pebble-like structures that form in the kidneys and can cause severe pain if they block urine flow.  The condition was once primarily a problem for white, middle-aged men, but numbers have been growing in recent years among women, young people, and African Americans, Tasian said.

Kidney stones once were extremely rare in children, but are now common enough that CHOP established a Pediatric Kidney Stone Center.  The numbers have doubled since 1997, but are still low, especially compared with adults.  Among boys ages 15 to 19, about 100 per 100,000 get a kidney stone in a year. For girls in that age range, the risk rises to 140 to 150 per 100,000.  “It’s truly a new problem within pediatric medicine,” Tasian said.

Treatment for kidney stones costs an estimated $10 billion each year, according to the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.  People who’ve had one have a 39 percent chance of having another within 15 years. Doctors still don’t know what causes them or why they’re increasing, Tasian said.

One theory: warmer temperatures due to climate change could be increasing dehydration. A link with obesity has also been suggested, as has lack of calcium in the diet. Tasian is also looking at the microbiome and antibiotic exposure.

A 1996 trial in Italy, however, found that drinking a lot of fluids reduced recurrence by 50 percent.

One theory: warmer temperatures due to climate change could be increasing dehydration. A link with obesity has also been suggested, as has lack of calcium in the diet. Tasian is also looking at the microbiome and antibiotic exposure.

A 1996 trial in Italy, however, found that drinking a lot of fluids reduced recurrence by 50 percent.

Read more at the Inquirer, Philly Voice, and Cision Newswire.

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