Study reveals how long it takes for LEGO head to pass through adult human digestive tract

LEGO head
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A team of researchers from several medical institutions in Australia and the U.K. has discovered how long it takes for a LEGO head to pass through the digestive tract of a normal healthy adult human. In their paper published in Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, the group explains their reasons for conducting the research and what they found.

Most parents know that despite their best efforts, children often swallow non-food items that later emerge in their feces. Children commonly swallow coins—next on the list are small toys. Parents often ask doctors how long will it take for the toy to pass through. This is a reasonable question, because if the child can't pass the foreign object, it can cause problems. The researchers therefore set up an experiment to find out just how long it takes for a small toy (in this case, a LEGO head) to pass through the of an adult. Children were not used for obvious reasons.

In the experiments, six adults (three male, three female) working in the pediatric field were asked to swallow a LEGO head and then to sift through each subsequent bowel movement until they found the tiny toy. Each was also asked to keep a diary regarding their findings as the researchers also wanted to know about factors such as stool softness and how that might impact travel time. It was at this point that the research became a little difficult to swallow, if you will. Each volunteer was asked to rate the softness of their stool samples on a scale known as Stool Hardness and Transit—to give themselves a SHAT score. And that was not the end of it: Each of the volunteers was also given a score to describe how long it took for a toy to pass through—they called it the Found and Retrieved Time (FART) score.

In the end, the researchers found that FART scores ranged from 1.14 to 3.04 days, with an average of 1.71 days. Though one individual reported that despite serious effort, he was never able to find the toy in his poo. It is not known if he simply missed it, or if the toy will remain forever lost in his bowels.

The researchers acknowledge that it is unclear if the results would have been the same for toddlers. They also acknowledge that they chose not to conduct their efforts as a blind study due to the difficulty the volunteers would have encountered in getting someone else to pore through their poop samples for them.

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More information: Everything is awesome: Don't forget the Lego, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, DOI: 10.1111/jpc.14309 ,

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Citation: Study reveals how long it takes for LEGO head to pass through adult human digestive tract (2018, November 28) retrieved 21 September 2019 from
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User comments

Nov 28, 2018
... I have no words. This is why the UK and Australia trail the world in research and development.

Nov 28, 2018
Why is this the first article on today? It is full of s*it.

Anyway, the numbers given for passing are similar to what I read in literature 35 years ago. Don't know why this is news.

Nov 28, 2018
Here I sit brokenhearted
Tried to SHAT but only FARTed

-actual test data

Nov 28, 2018
Why exactly did this study need to be done? This study is especially pointless because it was done on healthy adults which I would imagine be a lot different than say a child or adolescent. What rubbish, this is why research shouldn't be geared to grab headlines, it should be used for serious scientific studies that teach us new things. Think of how much money was wasted here especially when you consider that it took multiple universities in different countries to be completed.

Nov 28, 2018
Oh Bart this research is "ahead" of it's time. "Now turn your head and cough."

As to why this specific article was posted on phys,org?
Cause they suckered you in with a clickbait headline.

Yeah, we are all gullible for scientific crap!
This site is paid by the advertisers for seducing our eyeballs to the page.

chem, you should be asking, what advantages or problems are expected to be resolved by the corporations funding these research programs?

chem, you are not some sort of marxist weenie demanding that the taxpaying public actually should expect benefits for their servitude to the Corporate State?

How ant-capitalist of you!

Nov 28, 2018
A study obviously done by college students for the entertainment and "shock-value". I doubt any of it was paid for by taxpayers or corporations...

Nov 28, 2018
"It is not known if he simply missed it or if the Roy will remain forever lost in his bowels."

No MRI? No CT scan?

One out of six!!!

These ding-a-lings missed it; that was the whole point of the study; that's what moms and dads want to know when junior swallows a toy; could it get stuck?

This is junk science.

Nov 28, 2018
Wow, I totally missed out on a quality education wherein I could have been paid doing studies on SHAT and FART.

Nov 28, 2018
jax, You are really getting on my nerves with that innocent, naive bumpkin act of yours!

How about a corporation filling a contract with a [REDACTED] acronym? For oh say. testing a minibug/tracker? That not only is safely hidden from the usual searches?

But disconnects itself to safely disappear down a toilet? When there is the possibility that the target subject will almost certainly have to undergo a more rigorous & sophisticated screening process?

Your tax dollars are paying for all these "Q" toys. You wouldn't want a competing acronym operation stealing the opportunity to reverse engineer these whizbang gizmos?

Nov 28, 2018
I checked the calendar, but it's not April 1st.

Nov 28, 2018
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 29, 2018
oh, annoyingmousie, the best we can expect out of you? Is steershit.

If you have been waiting? I suspect you have confused the term "roughage" with "roughstuff".

Stop hanging around the gay biker bars hoping to score some more "roughstuff".

Go to the market. Bring home some beans and vegetables and fruit to add "roughage" to your diet!

Oh, and I suggest you also get the big package of baby wipes. You'll thank me later.

Dec 01, 2018
I found a missing tooth cap that way ... probably was a couple of days

Dec 03, 2018
To my mind non digestible items come out in poop within forty hours. The sticky material sticks to the tract and form ulcers.

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