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Lose Those Tatts!

Is your tattoo a time bomb that you now want removed? Tatts are usually removed with a laser (the light from the laser helps the pigments in the tattoo ink the ink break down and eventually "float away" via the lymphatic system. But a new study has found that they're harder to remove if the design contains colors and is larger than 12 inches or (surprise) if the tattooed person is a smoker. It's also harder to remove tattoos from the feet or legs, so you may have to stick to wearing socks and long pants.

Older tattoos are harder to remove because the ink particles have moved deeper into the skin. Over 20% of US college students have at least one tattoo, and about half of them later want to have them removed. In order to do this, patients must have about 10 laser treatments, several weeks apart.

Not all tattoos are bad: new electronic tattoos, as soft and pliable as real skin, could automatically detect any problems with your heart, brain and muscle activity. Electronic tattoos could prevent epileptic seizures or monitor blood sugar levels.

These temporary digital tattoos resemble small computer chips and are made of tiny, wavy silicon structures containing circuits that are thinner than a human hair. They can bend and stretch with the body.

In LiveScience.com, Jennifer Welsh quotes researcher John Rogers as saying, "We're trying to bridge that gap, from silicon-wafer based electronics to biological, 'tissue-like' electronics, to really blur the distinction between electronics and the body."

These are an example of what scientists call "bio-integrated" medical devices. With this type of implant, humans are becoming more mechanical every day. Someday we the average person may be a hybrid--part human and part machine. Subscribers can get this beautiful hardcover for less than $5!



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