For everyone who has a kid — or was a kid — you already know that children mistakenly swallow things they shouldn't. But five researchers in Australia willingly swallowed something not designed for consumption: a Lego head. And they did it for science.
In the journal article "Everything is awesome: Don't forget the Lego," the five pediatric specialists recruited for the study note that the idea was to show that most items accidentally swallowed by children pass through the digestive system without causing harm. (The exception being button batteries, which can damage the esophagus.) So they recruited a team willing to swallow a Lego head, then search for it in the following days.
"Participation was open to health care professionals working in the field of pediatric hospital care, with exclusion criteria being previous gastrointestinal surgery, inability to ingest foreign objects or an aversion to searching through fecal matter," they wrote.
A Lego head was chosen because it is a standard toy found in most households.
And yes, all the participants successfully passed the head as expected.
Of course it wasn't wholly done for science. The team wanted to have fun by getting published in the Christmas issue of BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), which is known for a "goofy" end-of-the-year issue. This explains why aspects of the test — such as the time interval between swallowing the head and its emerging — were given very appropriate names, like the Found and Retrieved Time, or FART, score.
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