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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.

Lets start with a conclusion of interest:
"there is a significant incidence of medical complications among students with piercing."
First:
The questionnaire asks for "recall" of any tattoo or piercing experience, not restricting "recall" to a persons age or time when acquired and not distinguishing between professional or self-piercing.

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 no.
The study recognizes this: "our students cannot be presumed to have a high degree of medical sophistication."
(Discussion Section, 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
For example:
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.
For example:
It would have been necessary to ask pertinent questions such as:
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 infection).
It takes medical training to differentiate infections from injury or trauma.

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."

From the 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. Other__.

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.

It is journalistic not scientific.
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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.

This 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.
2) 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 self-resolving.


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 health problem."
"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.

Final paragraph
"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 non-sequiter.

In the Discussion section paragraph 7 considerable time is devoted to citing sources reporting hepatitis and HIV infections.
Reference 13;

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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.
 

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