Prevalence of Body Art ==
The article has no merit.
The questionnaire is so poorly constructed, the questions so vague,
the selection of subjects questionable, the conclusions not even
following from the questionnaire that it is amazing this made it's
way into print.
start with a conclusion of interest:
"there is a significant incidence of medical complications among
students with piercing."
The questionnaire asks for "recall" of any tattoo or piercing
restricting "recall" to a persons age or time when
acquired and not distinguishing between professional or
The results state an assumption that all tattoos or piercings were acquired during the few years
leading up to college solely based on the presumption that no one
would have gotten a tattoo or piercing at a younger age because it is illegal to get a
tattoo or piercing at younger ages. This presumption is false. Self-piercing is not un-common
among girls and young boys and girls
are known to tattoo themselves with needles and ink.
Because the study is
targeted to medical professionals, it is essential that the students
understand the specialized "medical" terms used. But
"our students cannot be presumed to have a
high degree of medical sophistication."
paragraph 9) and yet the study is still published as if it
still had value.
Common, non-professional use of "medical"
terms are not the same as
professionals understand them
a) What does bleeding refer to?
1) It could be interpreted by a college student as some drops of
blood during or immediately after the procedure. This valid
interpretation would not be considered a medical complication, yet
it would be a valid interpretation by people who do not have medical
sophistication so that they would respond "Yes" they had bleeding.
2) Included also would be any injury that caused blood to
appear no matter its short or long duration.
Because the medical terms are not defined or explained there
is no way to know if any are what medically trained would consider "medical complications."
In logic this is a false argument because the meanings of the
terms cannot be switched between the premise and the conclusion.
It would have been necessary to ask pertinent questions
a) Was the body art obtained professionally in a shop,
by amateurs or self-administered?
b) Were the "complications"
during, immediately after, or later after the procedure?
c) Did the "complication" resolve
itself? How long did it take to resolve?
d) If you treated
yourself what did you do to resolve the "complication?"
e) Did you visit a health care provider,
clinic or hospital? If so, how long after the procedure?
f) If you reported an infection, 1) was this diagnosis by a health
care provider? 2) How were you treated?
The conclusions of this study are based on precise definitions but the answers are
not. The answers are unreliable and do not have validity because it
is unknown what the answers mean.
It takes medical sophistication to know that
complications are "injuries or diseases that develop during the
treatment of an earlier disorder."
It takes medical training to diagnose a condition as an infection
(people without medical training or experience are incompetent to diagnose an
It takes medical training to differentiate infections from injury or
It may be funny to the authors of the study but it is not funny for
those in the profession to read that their professions are newly
defined as "medical disorders."
questionnaire: Figure 1. Body art study questionnaire.
Questions 7 and 8.
7. If you now have or have ever had a body piercing, have you
suffered any medical complications? Y N
8. If "Yes" please circle: A. Injury or tearing of skin; B.
Bleeding; C. Infection: bacterial viral; D. Tooth or gum injury; E.
The only conclusion is what the students "thought" they had suffered.
The answers are admitted to be unreliable.
The conclusion that
"there is a significant incidence of medical complications among
students with piercing." is false because the evidence is
unreliable and it is admitted that the students are not able to
diagnose medical conditions.
journalistic not scientific.
Another conclusion that
does not follow from the questionnaire:
Discussion paragraph 6
"If our prevalence and complication rates are representative for
this age group, these morbid events comprise a considerable demand
on and cost to the health care system."
The questionnaire did not ask if medical
help was sought or provided through a health care system.
conclusion is a total fabrication because absolutely no information
was solicited about how the medical complications were treated, much
less if they were at public expense.
The questionnaire did not ask if the diagnosis of "infection" was
made by a trained health care provider.
Concerning the selection of subjects:
1) It is likely
a questionnaire "about" body art, attracted more "body art" recipients was participate than non-body art recipients.
The abnormal missing junior class further shows that the
representation was lacking an accurate cross class representation.
The results are skewed by admitting to discarding accurate results.
Since a significant number 4% and 5% of participants
mentioned in Discussion
paragraph 8 did not reveal their height and "weight" it
was presumption to assume the participants were having a "problem". To posit a
reason for the missing data as the respondents may not have wanted
to have skewed the results is without merit.
This is not restricted in time "If you have or have ever had.."
specifically asks for the entire life, including adolescent
self-piercing, professional and non-professional piercing.
This conclusion is false because there were no questions asked about
professional medical or hospital care.
For all we know we should assume no cost and all were
Discussion Paragraph 7
"The absence of reported medical complications from tattooing...none
of our respondents reported viral infection..."
..the time interval...may be too brief...to detect sub clinical
infection...even if the risk is quite low...the high prevalence of
these practices may imply a potentially important long-term public
"Sub clinical" means a disease or condition that is so mild it
produces no symptoms.
The conclusion that this may be a long-term public health problem is
self-contradictory because the implication of "low risk" cannot
imply high risk.
This is true distortion to promote a pre-conceived agenda.
"In addition, further follow-up, including serological surveys of
pierced and tattooed subjects, will be necessary to assess the risk
of acquiring viral illness as a consequence of body art."
This expectation that follow-up serological tests will assess the
risk of illness acquired as a consequence of body art is another
In the Discussion section paragraph 7 considerable time is devoted
to citing sources reporting hepatitis and HIV infections.
A contradiction appears in Results paragraph 12
"There were no significant relationships between body art...or
athletic participation." and in Discussion paragraph 5 ""...we had
hypothesized that they (athletes) would exhibit a higher prevalence
off body art. This proved to be true only for male athletes..."
Because the conclusions do not in any way follow from the
questionnaire but are totally out of place, the conclusion were
pre-made and tacked onto the results.