Fluorescence micrograph of a human kidney stone from the Mayo Clinic.Mayandi Sivaguru, Jessica Saw from Bruce Fouke Lab, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, U. of I.
Recent research found that kidney stones have many more similarities with real stones than anyone previously thought. The team of both medical students and geologists were able to piece together how kidney stones form, their changes through time, and how they can record the health of a person's kidney.
The research, published in Scientific Reports, upends our understanding of how kidney stones grow. Kidney stones grow much like coral reefs or stalagmites grow, adding sequential calcium carbonate layers on top of each other.In between growth cycles, kidney stones can also dissolve slightly, leaving gaps in their structure.
In geology, rocks can unlock clues to the environments they were exposed to. For example, a stalagmite grows in size by the slow drip of mineral-richwater in a cave. Each water droplet contains dissolved minerals, which precipitate out to add a tiny amount rock to a stalagmite.
As calcium carbonate layers form from the sequential drip of mineral-rich ...