Science Now Knows How Long It Takes to Poop Out a Swallowed LEGO Head

iStock.com/Ekaterina79
iStock.com/Ekaterina79

The bricks and square-shaped people of the LEGO toy universe have been bringing joy to adults and children alike for decades. Less pleasant: stepping on a LEGO brick, which results in remarkable pain, and emergency runs to the pediatrician when a kid happens to tear off a LEGO head and swallow it.

If you’ve ever wondered whether a LEGO head can get lodged in a loved one’s intestine, science now has an answer. Gizmodo recently reported on a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health that described the LEGO poop problems of six volunteers—all physicians and authors of the study—after intentionally swallowing a toy cranium. Then they sifted through the excrement to see when the disembodied head would make a reappearance.

The average elapsed time from ingestion to elimination was 1.71 days, with the head making a clear and uneventful exit in five of the six participants. One never found the head despite a thorough scan of his waste, but it’s possible he missed it. How you miss a rather large, orange chunk of plastic in your feces was not elaborated upon.

While the authors took time to add some levity to their LEGO poop problems—they dubbed the duration of time before finding the head the Find and Retrieval Time, or FART—the experiment was intended to demonstrate to parents that a swallowed LEGO head is not likely to result in complications and should pass without incident within a day or two. Owing to some degree of practicability, the authors also concluded that it’s not necessary to comb through your kid’s stool to confirm the object’s successful transit through the bowel.

That said, it’s never advisable to swallow foreign objects. While many LEGO heads were once manufactured with a hollow core to assist in breathing in case they became lodged in the throat, it’s best that children be cautioned against eating their toys.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Move Over Dogs, Goats, and Peacocks: Llamas Are the Hot New Therapy Animal

jensenwy/iStock via Getty Images
jensenwy/iStock via Getty Images

Possibly because Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and the rest of the reindeer are pretty busy at this time of year, Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Portland, Oregon, is offering guests the chance to hang out with a few jolly llamas instead.

The Washington Post reports that the friendly, festively dressed llamas belong to Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, which usually brings them to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, senior communities, hospice care, special-needs organizations, and even schools. According to the organization’s website, the visits help “alleviate loneliness, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.”

And, though the clinical benefits to the Kimpton’s guests haven’t been proven, hotel manager Travis Williams confirms that everyone definitely loves spending time with the quirky quadrupeds. Last year, after overwhelmingly positive reactions to the llama visits, the hotel decided to bring them back.

“Once we saw the joy that it brought people, we just kept going,” Williams told The Washington Post.

While it might seem like the use of llamas for therapy is a characteristically Portland-ish idea, it’s not the only place you can find them. The New York Times reports that 20 llamas and alpacas are registered with Pet Partners, a national nonprofit organization for therapy animals, and many others are owned and trained by private family farms across the country.

Jeff and Carol Rutledge, for example, have 13 llamas and alpacas on their property in Stockdale, Texas, outside San Antonio. Three of them are registered therapy animals, having passed a test that includes being touched by strangers and staying unaffected while people argue near them.

During their visits to assisted living facilities, veterans’ homes, and other events in the area, the Rutledges have observed the animals having a profound effect on residents’ behavior. One man, who is nonverbal and recovering from a motorcycle accident, will murmur as he grooms one of the llamas. And the Rutledges’ high-school-aged daughter, Zoe, even did a science experiment for her 4-H club that showed the residents’ blood pressure is lower after visiting with the llamas.

While there’s not a very high chance of seeing therapy llamas in airports just yet, you might be lucky enough to see something a little smaller—like LiLou, San Francisco International Airport’s first therapy pig.

[h/t The Washington Post]

Nike Is Releasing a Durable Slip-On Sneaker Designed for Medical Professionals

monkeybusinessimages/iStock via Getty Images
monkeybusinessimages/iStock via Getty Images

Nike is known for releasing footwear that covers just about every activity under the moon—impact-absorbing running shoes, sleek soccer cleats, snazzy fashion statements, and so much more. Now, they’ve developed a sneaker for nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals who spend long shifts on their feet.

According to a press release, Nike sent designers to the OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, where they learned from healthcare providers exactly what their jobs entail. Then, they used their findings to create the Nike Air Zoom Pulse, a “traditional clog made athletic.”

nike air zoom pulse
Nike

If you’ve ever gone sightseeing in a new city or even just taken a longer-than-expected afternoon stroll, you might have experienced firsthand that even your most comfortable walking shoes stop being so comfortable after a few miles of non-stop action—and nurses experience that type of exercise every time they go to work. During a regular 12-hour shift, a nurse might walk between four and five miles and sit for less than an hour. To account for that, the Nike Air Zoom Pulse features a full-rubber outsole, a flexible drop-in midsole, arch support, and a “heel fit so secure [that] it feels like a soft, snug hug.”

nike air zoom pulse
Nike

Since healthcare professionals also need a shoe durable enough to withstand spills of any kind, Nike coated the top of the Air Zoom Pulse with a polyurethane layer that’s easy to wipe down. It’s also a laceless slip-on, so people won’t have to worry about tripping on untied laces—and they’ll also be able to slip their shoes off for a quick nap in the staff room.

nike air zoom pulse
Nike

Six patients at the OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital have contributed vibrant, colorful designs for the Air Zoom Pulse, which Nike will release for online orders (in versions that include its own colorways) starting December 7.

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