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01.04.2006 | Article | Ausgabe 2/2006

Urolithiasis 2/2006

Thirty-eight years of stone meetings in Europe

Urolithiasis > Ausgabe 2/2006
K. H. Bichler


Of decisive importance for the many research groups all over Europe were the scientific symposia dealing with the theoretical foundations and clinical aspects of urinary stone disease. There were several sources from which today’s European Urinary Stone meetings and the “Eurolithiasis Society” itself arose. It was a long way from Leeds in 1968 to Jena 1970, Bonn–Vienna in 1972 and to 11 European meetings from 1989 to 2005. Which developments in urinary stone disease research have been presented at our congresses during the past 40 years? The 1970s and 1980s are the years marked by efforts to measure the important lithogenic substances such as calcium, ionized calcium, uric acid, phosphate, oxalate with reliable methods. Hypercalciuria and specifically mild hyperoxaluria were the topics of numerous investigations in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The calcium-loading test described by Pak has been discussed frequently since its application. It became apparent that oxalic acid is more important in urinary stone formation than hypercalciuria. Of importance were investigations done by Robertson and his colleagues on the influence of diet (in particular, an animal protein–rich diet) on urinary stone formation. Another emphasis of research was investigation of the crystallization process: supersaturation, crystal growth and aggregation are important steps in urinary stone formation. Of great importance in the formation of urinary stones are inhibitors (inhibitory activity): citrate, magnesium, pyrophosphate, macromolecules: GAGs, THP etc. and it became possible in the early 1970s to determine substances such as Tamm-Horsfall protein (THP) and GAGs. Much attention in the 1970s and 1980s was focused on urinary stone analysis (X-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, polarization microscopy) and standardization of these methods. In the mid-1980s, a whole series of epidemiological studies were carried out, with data for the Federal Republic of Germany, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria. The search for “stone-removing” medications, their description and clinical use was the subject of much clinical research and in vitro examinations. A definite advance occurred in the 1980s with the development of new instrumental technologies for the management of urinary stones such as shockwave (“Stoßwelle”) lithotripsy, percutaneous nephrolithotomy and ureterorenoscopy (“ breakthrough innovations”). Since the 8th European Urolithiasis Symposium there have regularly been presentations pertaining to the topic of the molecular basis of inherited lithiasis. The last 10–15 years have shown an increasing turning toward the importance of cellular alterations and supersaturation and their relation to stone formation. In conclusion, I would like to note that it is of decisive importance for the research groups all over Europe to organize scientific symposia dealing with the theoretical foundations and clinical aspects of urinary stone disease under the protection of the European Urolithiasis Society.

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