What happened when six doctors swallowed Lego heads for science

0 76
Connect with us

They really got to the bottom of the situation.

A group of intrepid physicians swallowed Legos in the name of science to help parents flush away concerns about their kids swallowing foreign objects — and be spared from “needless gross hours of searching through poop.”

“They wanted to, basically, see how long it took to swallow and excrete a plastic toy,” science journalist Sabrina Imbler said recently on NPR’s “Short Waves” podcast of the 2018 study.

The experiment was spearheaded by Dr. Andy Tagg, an emergency physician in Melbourne, Australia, who swallowed two Legos stuck together as a toddler.

Tagg told NPR that he and his colleagues deal with panicked parents whose youngsters have swallowed small toys “almost every day” — and constantly have to reassure them that the object should pass easily.

To really drive their point home, Tagg and five other doctors — all based in Australia or the United Kingdom — gulped down Legos heads and timed how long it took them to be excreted.

Each doctor gave their object a Found and Retrieved Time (FART) score, the average of which was 1.71 days. They published the results in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

“They were hoping to prevent [parents spending] needless gross hours searching through poop [for the objects],” Imbler explained.

According to Imbler, the study notably excluded three criteria for its text subjects: a history of gastrointestinal surgery, the inability to swallow foreign objects and “aversion to searching through fecal matter.”

But while Tagg and his fellow researchers made a strong argument for the relative safety of swallowing Legos and other small plastic objects, they also warned parents about potentially dangerous hazards.

Button batteries, in particular, can do serious damage in a small amount of time if ingested. These flat batteries are found in everything from electronics and toys to singing greeting cards.

“Button batteries can actually burn through an esophagus in a couple of hours,” Imbler cautioned.

 “So they’re very, very dangerous — very different from swallowing a coin or a Lego head.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *