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Some research studies are funny. Really funny, as in WTF - did they actually do this? I recently read an entertaining article about one such study (done a few years ago) by six physicians who conducted the study on themselves. Each swallowed a small plastic Lego head and then checked their feces (poo!) to see how long it took to be excreted!

They found that the Lego heads actually passed through the gastrointestinal system quite rapidly and without any problems. (But one never found the Lego piece because he didn't thoroughly check!) The researchers (all pediatric health care professionals in either the UK or Australia) had wonderful descriptions of their results - using such terms as Stool Hardness and Transit (SHAT) and the Found and Retrieved Time (FART).

And yes, it actually has real life relevance. The results were reassuring because children swallow small plastic objects all the time, and the study showed they can pass through the system quickly. In this study the average was less than 2 days (1.7 days) for the Lego head to be excreted.

[NOTE: These results do not apply to children swallowing small (button & lithium coin) batteries - that is an emergency situation requiring immediate medical help!]

The writer Sabrina Imbler at the site Defector wrote an entertaining account of the researchers and their study. Excerpt from the article: An Oral History Of The Time Six Doctors Swallowed Lego Heads To See How Long They’d Take To Poo

In 2018, a question burned in the minds of six pediatric healthcare professionals: How long does it take for a small ingested object to pass through a child's digestive system? Unwilling to ask actual children to experimentally swallow a foreign object, these skilled workers volunteered their own gastrointestinal tracts for science, and published a paper detailing their experiment in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, which went viral in a way that papers published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health usually do not. ...continue reading "Six Physicians Swallowed Lego Heads Study"