Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Got a Tattoo? Get a Hepatitis C Test

Got a Tattoo? Get a Hepatitis C Test
Having a Tattoo Associated With Tripled Risk of Dangerous Disease

The global fad for tattoos, particularly among young people, is growing -- and along with it the risk of acquiring hepatitis C, according to a multinational study.

A systematic review of 124 published studies from 30 countries found that people with tattoos were almost three times as likely to have hepatitis C as those without tattoos, according to Dr. Jane Buxton of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver and colleagues.

But in some subgroups -- particularly non-injection drug users -- the odds of having the virus were almost six-fold, Buxton and colleagues wrote online in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Read this story on www.medpagetoday.com.

In recent years, tattoos have become increasingly popular. An estimated 36 percent of Americans under 30 have the skin designs, the researchers wrote. In Canada, they added, around 8 percent of high school students have at least one tattoo. Among those without a tattoo, 21 percent are eager to get one.

Since tattoo instruments come in contact with blood and bodily fluids, infection is possible if instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilized or without proper hygiene, the researchers noted. Additionally, tattoo dyes are not kept in sterile containers and may also transmit infections, they wrote

To help quantify the risks, the researchers reviewed and analyzed 124 studies from 30 countries -- including Canada, Iran, Italy, Brazil and the United States. Of those, 83 studies were included in the meta-analysis.

Based on these studies, those who had tattoos were 2.74 times as likely to have hepatitis than those who had no tattoos.

However, among certain groups the risk could go much higher, they found. For example, non-injection drug users with tattoos were 5.74 times as likely to have hepatitis than their non-tattooed counterparts.

One limitation of the analysis is the observational nature of the studies included in this review, the researchers wrote.

What's needed, the researchers concluded, are infection-control guidelines for tattoo artists and clients, and enforcement through inspections, reporting of adverse events and record keeping. Also, they wrote, prevention programs should focus on young people -- those most likely to get tattoos -- and among prison inmates -- who live in environments with a higher prevalence of hepatitis C.

Newt Gingrich's Ex Speaks Out

Newt Gingrich's Ex Speaks Out, And It's Ugly
Amoral, bigoted Newt Gingrich is the subject of a new Esquire profile in which his second wife (he's on the third now) dishes about their 2000 divorce. Shorter version: Newt Gingrich is a special kind of asshole.

Gingrich finally admitted what everyone already knew, a couple of years ago: He had been having an affair on his second wife, Marianne, during the Clinton impeachment hearings, while speaking out about Republicans being the party of family values. Newt had also cheated on his first wife and discussed divorce terms with her while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery.

Marianne Gingrich agreed to be interviewed for this new Esquire feature about Newt's life, which is pretty rare. Apparently Newt had asked her to "tolerate" the affair he'd been having. Ugh:

He wanted to talk in person, he said.

"I said, 'No, we need to talk now.' "

He went quiet.

"There's somebody else, isn't there?"

She kind of guessed it, of course. Women usually do. But did she know the woman was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed?

She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. " 'I can't handle a Jaguar right now.' He said that many times. 'All I want is a Chevrolet.' "

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"

"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."

Yeah, divorce was probably a good idea. Even the whole cheating/asshole aspect aside, who'd want to be married to someone who uses a car-fucking metaphor to describe anything?