ZEISS microscopes help uncover centuries old hidden secrets of human kidney stones
Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that can form inside your kidneys. They have been ascribed no medical value at all, and doctors usually discard them right away. A research team led by Bruce Fouke, a geology and microbiology professor at the University of Illinois, have now shown their complex structure and composition. These findings may lead to better diagnostics and treatment.
A layered history of the kidney’s physiology
Many doctors assume that kidney stones are homogeneous, insoluble, even boring. They either break them using ultrasound leading them to painful passage or more invasively surgically remove them once a pathological stone is brought in to a hospital setting. Recent finding schallenge this 150 year notion that kidney stones could not be dissolved at all, which set the mindset of medical professionals and physicians.
The team found – unlike the conventional wisdom – that the Calcium oxalate stone which comprise over 70% of all kidney stones could not be dissolved. It is actually undergoing multiple steps of dissolution and recrystallization during the course of its growth.
Instead of looking at these stones as static lumps of crystals, imagine they have a record of daily, if not hourly and minute-by-minute record of bodily fluid, food and metabolism like a record of environment and climate in tree rings and other biomineralization settings in the nature.
Bruce Fouke, Professor of Geology and Microbiology and Director of Carver Biotech Center
Dr. Fouke and his fellow researchers examined more than 50 kidney stone fragments from six Mayo Clinic patients.