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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Researchers Turn to Creative Approaches to Battle Kidney Stones

Young woman sipping from bottled water

Scientists will test whether using a smart water bottle that encourages people to drink more water, and therefore urinate, will reduce the recurrence of urinary stone disease, commonly referred to as kidney stones.

Photo: iconogenic/istock

Can a high-tech water bottle help reduce the recurrence of kidney stones? What about a financial incentive? Those are questions NIH-funded researchers will seek to answer as they begin recruiting participants for a 2-year clinical trial at 4 sites across the country. Scientists will test whether using a smart water bottle that encourages people to drink more water, and therefore urinate, will reduce the recurrence of urinary stone disease, commonly referred to as kidney stones. NIDDK is supporting the trial.

The randomized trial, known as the Prevention of Urinary Stones with Hydration study, or PUSH, will enroll 1,642 people, half in an intervention group and half in a control group. The study’s primary aim is to determine whether a program of financial incentives, receiving advice from a health coach and using a smart water bottle will result in reduced risk of kidney stone recurrence over a 2-year period. The water bottle, called Hidrate Spark, monitors fluid consumption and connects to an app.

Those in the intervention group will be asked to drink a specific quantity of fluids based on each person’s urine output. They will also be given financial incentives if they achieve their fluid targets. They will also meet with a health coach who will help identify barriers to drinking more liquids and help solve them. 

In the United States, the prevalence of urinary stones has nearly doubled in the past 15 years, affecting about 1 in 11 people. Little high-quality research exists about how to prevent stones and most therapies treat people with the condition only after they are in excruciating pain.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Associate Editor: Carla Garnett
Carla.Garnett@nih.gov

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov

Dana Talesnik
Dana.Talesnik@nih.gov

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