Study aims to boost water intake to prevent kidney stones

Research we're watching

Published: December, 2017


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Can a high-tech water bottle help prevent painful kidney stones? The National Institutes of Health is hoping to find out. As many as one in every 11 people in the United States today has experienced a painful kidney stone. Kidney stones, a condition also referred to as nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis, are hard deposits that form inside the kidneys. They can be as small as a grain of sand or the size of a marble or larger. Symptoms of a stone include excruciating pain, interrupted urine flow, or bleeding inside the urinary tract. In short, kidney stones are definitely something you want to avoid. One way to keep stones from developing is to drink lots of water. The problem is, people who have had a stone often don't drink enough water to prevent new ones from forming, even when they're told how important it is to stay hydrated.

This trial, which will enroll 1,642 people, is trying to change that by using a "smart" water bottle that not only encourages people to drink a target amount of water each day, but also tracks their consumption using an app. People in the test group who reach their daily fluid intake targets will get financial incentives. Health coaches will provide added support to help participants achieve their goals. The findings could shed new light on how to get people to change their behavior to prevent this common and painful condition. For more information on the trial or to see if you qualify, visit www.health.harvard.edu/push.

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