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Coasters from a physiological point


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Greetings! I'm new here, but I've been a coaster nerd since I was twelve, and I've read KIC stuff for years now :)

Anyhoo, I did this project in my senior Anatomy & Physiology class about how any specific activity takes a toll on the human body, and I, of course, chose riding a coaster.

I actually found out some weird stuff. Like when you're feeling negative G's or airtime, your body thinks it is in a freefall because all your organs are literally floating inside your body, and the body's response is that tingly feeling in your stomach. When you ride a roller coaster, your body thinks you're being chased by a bear and jumping off a building, even though you know it's safe.

Also, the reason one would get headaches or dizziness on a ride is because of all the tiny parts in your inner ear are more sensitive than others'. Just thought it was cool to know what is happening inside your body when you ride a coaster :)

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Has anybody else lost that feeling in their stomach on first drops? I very rarely find a coaster that gets my stomach anymore. Raptor at Cedar Point is the only ride that consistently makes my stomach churn on the first drop. I miss that feeling.

Try closing your eyes and turning your head to the left or right before and during the drop... Something like this happens ("Dang it, Jim, I'm a computer scientist, not a doctor!" ;) )... anyway,If your visual reference doesn't match the fluid moving around in you semicircular canals (ears), then you should get that ol' feeling again!

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Some think the rapid breaking and acceleration causes the brain move inside the skull

and I would think this makes sence. The brain is floating around in your skull on a layer of CSF (think of a ballon inside a small box covered in water). As the roller coaster accelerates (quickly), the brain would slide backwards making contact with the base of the skull. When the coaster suffers a negative acceleration (known as stopping ;) ), the brain then floats forwards making contact with the front of the skull. Oh BTW the front of the skull has bumps/ridges located on it. A servere impact can cause the front of the brain to shred/tear as it makes contact. Not to mention that as the brain moves in the skull it can rotate and bump the skull on other sides of the brain.

So you say so what, right? well the back of the brain has an area called the Occipital Lobe. This beauty is only incharge of your vision. The front of the brain is the frontal lobe which is in charge of executive function. The sides of the brain control language and creativity. The top of the brain only controls motor planning and execution (no big deal right?). Then, the base of the brain is in charge of low level functioning (heart, lungs, reflexes, etc).


This type of ride induces up-and-down, to-and-fro, and rotatory acceleration, which [ruptures blood vessels in the brain],


Real time 3-D motions of the heads of volunteers were measured during rides on three different roller coasters, strikes with a pillow, and low speed car crash simulations. It was found that the peak head accelerations and velocities from these intense events were all comparable and fell far below the established biomechanical thresholds for TBI.
Another important limitation in assessing the cause of brain injury is the unknown presence of pre-existing conditions that could augment a person’s susceptibility to injury. For example, a pre-existing brain aneurism might rupture during or near the time of a roller coaster ride, as has been demonstrated in at least one fatality case

but becareful. the last article only had 4 participants (far from what you would need to "prove" anything in a study.) Also this line

Volunteers were recruited by Six Flags Great Adventure to ride three roller coasters, participate in a pillow fight and a 5mph car bumper hit. A Six Flags review board of Professional Engineers familiar with amusement ride test protocols approved the experimental procedures and participant consent.

So note, that the study was not independent but done by a park organization showing that their rides are safe <_<

I present this material not to scare riders, but to show that we must all recognize our own limitations. Also, there is no proof that Roller coasters do or do not cause a TBI (traumatic Brain Injury).

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