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20th Mar 2023

Six scientists swallow lego heads to see how long it takes to poo them out

Steve Hopkins

A ‘typical transit’ time was confirmed

Six scientists swallowed the heads of Lego figurines to find out how long it would take to – poop them out.

“Children frequently ingest coins (generally with minimal reported side effects); however, the ingestion of other items has been subject to less academic study. Parental concern regarding ingestion applies across a range of materials. In this study, we aimed to determine typical transit times for another commonly swallowed object: a Lego figurine head,” the study called, Everything is awesome: Don’t forget the Lego states.

The bowl-breaking study from November 2018, published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, detailed the methodology of the pretty simple experiment.

“Six paediatric health-care professionals were recruited to swallow a Lego head. Previous gastrointestinal surgery, inability to ingest foreign objects and aversion to searching through faecal matter were all exclusion criteria. “

The scoring system, was aptly named: “Pre-ingestion bowel habit was standardised by the Stool Hardness and Transit (SHAT) score. Participants ingested a Lego head, and the time taken for the object to be found in the participants stool was recorded. The primary outcome was the Found and Retrieved Time (FART) score.”

The SHAT score was actually split into two – a pre-SHAT score, which logged the normal bowel habits of the researchers, and a post-SHAT score logged after the toy was ingested. The two measures were then compared.

Determining the FART score was more of a hands-on job. The scientists needed to forage amongst their faeces.

The outcome?

On average the lego head took 1.71 days to appear.

The test uncovered another unknown fact: “There was some evidence that females may be more accomplished at searching through their stools than males, but this could not be statistically validated.”

To the relief of parents everywhere, the study also concluded that a toy object passes through with “no complications”.

“This will reassure parents, and the authors advocate that no parent should be expected to search through their child’s faeces to prove object retrieval.

Read the full study here.

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