"The Heart of the Matter"

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Week: 555.3 Guest: Dr. W. Gordon Walker, Prof. Med. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Head Renal Unit, Helix Health, Baltimore, Md Topic: Caffeine, alcohol lessen chance of kidney stones Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: Kidney stones...and alcohol...more coming up...

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NEMA: A study at Harvard has recently shown that caffeine and alcohol have a greater effect than water in preventing kidney stones... nephrologist Dr. W. Gordon Walker is Head of the Renal Unit at Helix Health in Baltimore...

WALKER: ...they have shown two things: one, it is important to take a lot of fluid...and two, that it makes a difference what sort of fluid you take. And wine, and a reasonable amount confers some additional protection, whereas apple juice or grapefruit juice appears to negate the protection that extra fluid intake offers.

NEMA: Why does the alcohol have a benefit..?

WALKER: If you administer alcohol under experimental conditions to an individual, his kidney tends to hold on to sodium and calcium a little bit more effectively, so that there's less of that in the urine.

NEMA: It's tough to drink six glasses of water a day, and nice to substitute something you know will help....

WALKER: ...but I hasten to add that I wouldn't recommend six glasses of wine a day!

NEMA: Maybe I was talking about the caffeine! I'm Steve Girard.


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