According to the publication, the aim was to "determine typical transit times" for an item that's commonly swallowed by children - Lego.
They found the average FART score was 1.7 days - although one researcher reported his Lego head went missing never to be found again (despite him searching for two whole weeks). But, no, even the researchers themselves aren't taking it too seriously, calling it "a bit of fun in the run up to Xmas" in a related blog post. The amount of time it took to travel from mouth to toilet was also aptly titled - the Found and Retrieved Time (aka the FART) score. It's all about the acronyms.
Researchers find the amount of time it takes for a Lego head to pass through the body thanks to some fearless volunteers.
"Although the majority of items children swallow pass through, some can be risky and parents should still be vigilant".
To account for any individual differences, pre-ingestion bowel habits were standardized by an appropriately named scale, the Stool Hardness and Transit (or SHAT) score.
The SHAT results showed that the consistency of the researchers' stools were not affected by the object they swallowed.
Ahead of the analysis, the participants were assessed for previous gastrointestinal surgery and an inability to ingest foreign objects that would rule them out of gulping down a Lego man's head. "This will reassure parents, and the authors advocate that no parent should be expected to search through their child's faeces to prove object retrieval".
The pediatric journal this study appeared in has a tradition of publishing quirky research at Christmastime.
Though she hopes the study will make people smile, Leo told the Guardian that parents still need to seek medical attention if their children swallow anything "sharp, longer than 5cm, wider than 2.5cm, magnets, coins, button batteries or are experiencing pain". As it turns out, parents need not worry because Lego heads should turn up in feces just a few days after.