03/06/2003 - News

New theory for kidney stone formation

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Researchers have used new technology to study how kidney stones are formed.

Kidney stones take up to ten years to form and affect around five per cent of the population. They can be extremely painful and more needs to be known of the risk factors involved and how they form.

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have used infrared analysis to examine tissue from three groups of kidney patients and used this to form a new theory of how and where the stones begin. One group had stones composed of calcium oxalate, which accounts for 75 per cent of all cases of kidney stones. They found that in this group, the initial deposit is actually of calcium phosphate, and occurs near the centre of the kidney.

The second group comprised patients at risk of stones following surgery for obesity. In these cases, the stones were formed in the tiny tubules leading to the ureter. The third group were patients who had malignant tumors in the ureter - and they showed no sign of stone formation. The researchers hope this new information will lead to more precise diagnosis and better treatment of kidney stones.


Journal of Clinical Investigation 1st March 2003

Created on: 03/06/2003
Reviewed on: 03/06/2003

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