Livin' on the MDedge

Clown-tox, tattooed immunity, and cingulum-bundle comedy


Quit clowning around

Would you like a balloon giraffe, elephant, or hypodermic needle? A recently published study examined how the use of “medical clowns” eased the anxiety and pain of children during botulinum toxin injections. These injections are used to treat spasticity in children, and researchers hypothesized that a clown might be an effective distraction.


As anyone who has been to a circus can surmise, the clowns did not perform better than the control distractions.

Researchers concluded that the clowns were appreciated by the parents but not particularly effective on the children. Maybe that’s because the parents weren’t the ones being stuck with needles while some crazy person in clown makeup attempted to distract them. Or maybe they were all just big fans of Stephen King’s “It.”

Inked immunity

Starting to feel a bit under the weather? Head to the local tattoo artist for the cure! Research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found evidence that the immune systems of heavily tattooed people are stronger than those without, proving once and for all that tats = toughness. Hell's Angels were on to something all along.


While your immune system can actually grow temporarily weaker after one tattoo, multiple tattoos create a stronger immunological response. Researchers tested the immunoglobulin A levels in those getting a first tattoo and those with many tattoos. They found that the latter group had higher IgA levels.

Maybe that’s why Adam Levine showed off his ink at the Super Bowl halftime show – he was just signaling his strong immune system to the rest of us.


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