might have escaped your notice but the team at DFTB recently had a paper published by the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health that has garnered a lot of interest.
We are sure you have questions. Lots of questions. So we thought we should answer them for you in the best way we know how.
What pressing scientific question did you ask?
We know that coins are the most commonly swallowed foreign object in the pediatric population and there is a lot of data surrounding transit time. The second most commonly swallowed objects are small toys but there is very little data out there. We wanted to know how long it would take for a small piece of plastic toy, in this case a Lego head, to pass through.
How on earth did you come up with the idea?
In one of our regular editorial meetings we were discussing some of our upcoming publications and musing how we could do something a little lighter, akin to the great Peppa Pig paper in last years Christmas BMJ. And then Andy Tagg said, “I’ve got this idea but you might think it a bit strange.” Within a short space of time we had an international team of researchers literally chomping at the bit to undertake the study.
Did you really swallow those poor heads?
Of course we did! Do you want proof?
Then what happened?
We waited to see what would happen. We all know corn kernels can whip through the colon in seemingly no time at all, but what about a little yellow piece of plastic? There was really only one way to find out.
And you searched through your own poo to find them? How?
As with any piece of research it is important to have a robust search strategy in place prior to commencement. A variety of techniques were tried – using a bag and squashing, tongue depressors and gloves, chopsticks – no turd was left unturned. And although we only used a very small sample size the fact that one of our heads went missing suggest that you really shouldn’t worry if you can’t find it.
What happened to the missing head?
Who knows? Perhaps one day many years from now, a gastroenterologist performing a colonoscopy will find it staring back at him.
But what about Ben Lawton? Where was he when all this was going on?
Don’t Forget the Bubbles was founded by four curious doctors – Tessa Davis, Andy Tagg, Henry Goldstein and Ben Lawton. Unfortunately Ben was traveling at the time we undertook the study and we didn’t think searching through his colonic contents in an airplane toilet was exactly fair.
And then you kept it quiet, right?
It can take an average of 17 years for science to go from benchside to bedside. Leveraging social media we managed to go from online publication on a Thursday evening to global saturation by Saturday evening.