kaitlynbagh
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Kidney stone project

Postby kaitlynbagh » Thu Nov 05, 2020 9:16 pm

Hi! For my science fair project, I want to simulate the effects of Flomax compared to natural alternatives in breaking a kidney stone. For the kidney stone, is it simple to make calcium oxalate crystals? If so, how would I go about making them? If not, are there any alternatives I can use instead to accurately simulate the process of the kidney stones breaking? I have read an article where they used calcite crystals, however, I do not know if that would work or not. Any advice would be appreciated; thank you for your help!

alyssaSTEMg
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby alyssaSTEMg » Fri Nov 06, 2020 5:13 am

Hi!

So one thing I noticed is your term "breaking a kidney stone." If you mean getting rid of it, then yes that is what Flomax does. But if you mean physically dissolving it, Flomax only relaxes the muscles around the kidney so the stone can pass easier.

I don't think you will be able to use Calcium Oxalate, as you cant really make them or purchase them. Calcite is a great alternative: the only difference in chemical formula is that Calcium Oxalate is CaC2O4 (Calcium and kind of 2 carbon dioxides), and Calcite is CaCO3 (Calcium and one carbon trioxide). You can buy calcite online for cheap, but you have to make sure it is REAL calcite and that you can get the right size. I seems pretty difficult to grow your own, but if you're up for it here is a website I found to at least get you started:

https://sciencenotes.org/grow-calcium-carbonate-crystals-aragonite/

I hope your project is a success!

kaitlynbagh
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby kaitlynbagh » Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:38 am

Thank you for your help! So are there any medications used to break up kidney stones? I would like to compare it to natural alternatives like lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, and see which breaks up the stones faster. Also, what should I use as a control variable?

alyssaSTEMg
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby alyssaSTEMg » Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:23 am

Control variables for experiments for medications is usually no treatment at all or a placebo. You cant use a placebo because that requires actual test subjects, so your control is pretty simple: without medication or any natural treatment, it will pass naturally. Here's an article over kidney stones passing naturally and what can be factors in that time:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326775#:~:text=Most%20kidney%20stones%20that%20are%20less%20than%204,timelines%20for%20passing%20kidney%20stones%20of%20different%20sizes%3A

As for other medications, allopurinol decreases uric acid in the body, which causes kidney stone buildup (which can make them bigger). This is the closest thing I can find to what you are looking for, as the rest of them are like Flomax or laxatives that relax those muscles to help it pass. I recommend you do some more research into finding medications, maybe you can test the effects of just those kinds of medications.

kaitlynbagh
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby kaitlynbagh » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:20 am

Hello! Thank you again for all your previous help! So, I have another question in regard to my project. I have spoken with a urologist I know, and he recommended doing the experiment on limestone, as well as calcite. He said that if he recalled correctly, it is similar to a calcium phosphate stone, but he wasn't completely sure and that I should do a little research on it first. I have done so, and based on my research, it seems that limestone mainly contains calcite, so I'm not sure if I can use it to simulate a calcium phosphate stone. Is this correct? If so, are there any other minerals I can use to simulate a calcium phosphate stone, or even another type of kidney stone? Thank you again for all your help!

hummch
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby hummch » Wed Dec 16, 2020 1:33 pm

Hi Kaitlyn,

So sorry for the delay! If you are still looking for an answer to this question, a mineral you could use that has both calcium and phosphorous in it is apatite. You could probably find one in crystals or science teaching shops/websites.

I hope this helps!
Cat

kaitlynbagh
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby kaitlynbagh » Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:40 am

Hi! No worries! I do have another question for my project. I understand that calcium attaches to citrate and then dissolves, thus preventing kidney stone formation, however, I do not understand the chemical reaction behind this. Would you please explain this, or provide sources that explain it?

Thank you again for everything!

hummch
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby hummch » Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:35 pm

Hi Kaitlyn,

I want to preface by saying that I am not a chemist nor very knowledgeable in kidney stones, so another expert may be able to help you further as needed.

If your institution has access to scientific journals, I found this article that goes quite into depth https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/ja029575h . Additionally, here is a web-friendly one that may help you https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252394/ . I searched "citrine kidney stone inhibitor" when I came across these. I recommend looking further into the search, as the links I provided are just from the first couple of options.

I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.
Cat

kaitlynbagh
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby kaitlynbagh » Wed Feb 03, 2021 2:33 pm

Thank you for all your help Cat!

cnoonan180
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby cnoonan180 » Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:06 pm

Hello!

You are correct about citrate attaching to calcium to prevent kidney stones, and great job with all of the research you've done for your project!

To help you understand the chemical reaction behind this:
1) I find that the best way to do this is to look at chemical structures. So, you can simply google pictures of the molecular structures of citrate and calcium citrate first. Then, look at the structure of citrate and notice that there are two oxygen atoms (represented by O) that are negative (represented by O-).

2) Calcium, being a metal, (which means it loses electrons easily, and loss of electrons causes an atom to become positive), when it becomes charged is positive. Calcium has 2 electrons in its outermost shell (called the valence shell) that it wants to lose.

3) Now, look at the picture of citrate again and notice that there are two negative oxygen atoms (represented by O-) with a charge of negative 1 (or -1). These oxygens want to bind with calcium which has two electrons that it wants to give away. This is represented by calcium having a charge of positive 2 (or +2).

4) The two negative oxygens want to collect calcium's 2 electrons (or +2) that it wants to give away and by doing this the oxygens that are part of citrate bind with calcium. Transferring or giving away electrons to another atom to bond is called an ionic bond. This is important because, for this type of bond, the total (or net) charge of each atom involved must be zero at the end of the bonding. To do this, all valence shells must be filled with 8 electrons (note that the negative 1 charge for the oxygens means they are seeking only one electron more to fill their shells, and calcium's shell will be full once it loses 2 electrons, as it will lose the valence shell, and the shell under this is filled with a full 8 electrons).

5) So, the charge of the two oxygen atoms together would equal -2, and added to a positive 2 (from calcium) would be zero. A charge of zero when added together like this are what the oxygens and calcium are trying to find, so by adding the oxygen's charge of -2 to the calcium's +2, the oxygens and calciums have successfully joined together in an ionic bond, which simply means that both atoms are trying to become neutral (or have a charge of zero), which the oxygens and calcium have successfully done.

Chemistry does become very complex quickly, so hopefully I simplified this enough so that it's easy to understand. If you have questions about anything, please let me know!

Here is website that has an image that can help you understand the binding of calcium to citrate: http://www.chemspider.com/Chemical-Structure.12584.html

Note that I know many people who like to use this website for help with chemistry, and it's great to look at if you ever want to view chemical structures or different properties of molecules, I highly recommend it!

Hope this helps!
-cnoonan180

kaitlynbagh
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Re: Kidney stone project

Postby kaitlynbagh » Mon Feb 08, 2021 6:26 pm

Thank you so much for the very descriptive answer!! I understand it much better now, and I will definitely go to the website. I cannot possibly thank you enough!


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