Mouse tattoo vaccinations (Good News Week 25/2/08: Strange But True)

German research shows that tattoos may be a better way of delivering new DNA vaccines than standard injections. Tattooing works by proving to the diseases that you’re really tough.

Diseases get scared off by how big and tough you are, so they go and attack a wussier target.

This, of course, is great news for skaters.

Work on mice has shown that tattooing is more effective at delivering DNA vaccines than intramuscular injections, as well as having the additional benefit of making the mice look totally hot. / making the mice look really tough.

But we don’t want tattooed mice around! Imagine how scary they’d be if you met them down some teeny tiny alleyway!

Tattooed mice are at an evolutionary advantage – they frighten off cats.

Of course real mice don’t eat cheese, they just sit down to a big meal of raw cat.

Not only are tattooed mice more healthy, but they are better at stealing cheese – they just zoom off with it on their Harley.

Not only did the tattoos increase the health of the mice, but many of them bought guitars and learned how to skate. / many of them now sport big beards and are driving miniature Harleys.

The scientists are just relieved that something good finally came out of all those years spent tattooing mice.

The tattoos used don’t contain ink. If you want to show that you had the vaccine, you’ll have to colour it in with texta.

The tattoos work better because the vibrating needle damages the tissue, stimulating the immune system. In fact you can get an even greater impact by delivering vaccines via chainsaw.

The vibrating needle causes a wound which stimulates an immune response, meaning the immunisation is more painful. So it’s not only more efficient, but much more fun for doctors.

They’re also really good for immunising you against “Mum”.

Tattoos are excellent ways to deliver doses of DNA, MUM and I-Heart-U.

The medical tattoo only takes up one square centimetre – that’s barely enough room to write anything. / to write “MUM”. / that’s too small to get the detail on the skull in. / it makes your mermaid look like a sardine.

Doctors will now be extensively trained in tattooing, as well as piercing and hair extensions.

Imagine going to the doctor for a quick vaccination: “Now, this will hurt a lot. But it’ll look wicked!”

So now, if you see a big hairy man in piercings and leather hanging around the hospital, he’s probably the anaesthetist.

They’re also thinking of using tattoos instead of injections for anaesthetic. The idea is, when you see a hairy biker as your anaesthetist, you pass out. / The idea is you just pass out from the pain.

If the tattoo helps you fight off cancer, it might be worth getting a tattoo to celebrate.

Using fragments of DNA is seen as a promising way of making better vaccines for everything from flu to cancer, and the best way to create a race of supermen. / and the most likely way of developing superpowers.

The tattoo is filled with experimental DNA vaccines, which genetically alter the patient until they’re invulnerable to disease, and, in some cases, give them spidey-senses.

There are side-effects: many patients develop an unusual craving for cheese. Well, the test-mice did, anyway.

The tattoo vaccination may cause the patient to come out in a rash, usually in the shape of a loveheart or ship anchor.

Not only are the tattoos an excellent way of delivering the vaccines, they’ll also provide tattoo parlours with loads of extra work.

Vaccine-parlours are predicted to open up everywhere. You’ll be able to pop in for a health-tatt, a medical brazilian, or a vitamin-packed Prince Albert.

Unfortunately, the tattooing system doesn’t work in humans – but scientists are very close to working out how to graft one of the tattooed mice onto the side of your head.

Unfortunately, the tattooing system doesn’t work in humans – for now, doctors have to transplant one of the mice into your liver.

Unfortunately, the tattooing system doesn’t work in humans – unless you use the much-maligned “felching” technique.

The doctors said tattooing could also have a role to play in the routine vaccination of cattle. That way you can simultaneously brand them.

Now that tattoos are healthy, rockstars and skaters are rebelling by developing a rosy-cheeked glow and munching on handfuls of vitamin C.

Some parents’ groups are concerned that this may make tattoos more mainstream. Especially since most babies will have a dozen tatts by the time they’re 1.

Unfortunately, now when you get laser tattoo-removal, you come down with the flu. / you get cancer.

Now that their mouse-tattooing experiments are over, the scientists are wondering exactly what kind of research would let them give donkeys a mohawk. / let them shave koalas. / let them wax armadillos. / let them give penguins a brazilian. / let them give dolphins a Prince Albert.

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