Kids eat the darndest things. Dead flies, half-sucked candy found on the ground, erasers... and one of the most popular items, besides coins, are small toy parts. But once swallowed, do these toys always find their way out? And if so, how long does the journey take?
These burning questions inspired a team of pediatrics workers to conduct a study, which was just published in The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. They got six adventurous volunteers to dine on Lego heads, and then poke around after each potty run until they spotted the bright plastic pieces in their poop. Fun times.
The researchers constructed the study with a sense of humor, using a Stool and Hardness Score (SHAT) and Found and Retrieved Time (FART) score. According to Forbes:
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Before they swallowed the Lego heads, each participant had to keep a 3‐day stool diary, which could be quite disconcerting if confused with a regular diary. The researchers developed a Stool Hardness and Transit (SHAT) score to measure the frequency and looseness of their stool. A higher SHAT score meant that the participant had more frequent and looser bowel movements, which could affect how fast the Lego head was you-know-what out of the person. Each patient has a pre-SHAT score, calculated for the 3-day period before the Lego head meal, and a SHAT score for the time between the ingestion and the pooping out of the Lego head. Thus, each participant was given 2 SHATs.
After the Lego head was swallowed, the next step was to keep track of the subsequent bowel movements and keep looking for the Lego head.