One of the researchers, Christopher Lynn, PhD, an associate professor of anthropology, had noticed that when he got a tattoo, he ended up exhausted--he says, from the stress (of a needle jabbing thousands of times into his flesh).
As with exercise, repetition of the stress can reset the stress point of the body higher, he thinks.
He teamed up with two other researchers and enlisted some volunteers at tattoo parlors in the area.
The colunteers completed a questionnaire about their tattoo experience. Their saliva samples were then analyzed before and after, measuring the levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody in the gastro and respiratory system, and of cortisol, a stree hormone that suppresses immunity.
The IA dropped in those receiving their initial tattoos--from the stress. But it dropped less significantly with subsequent tattoos.
Lynn says he is interested in "catchy" subjects--subjects that catch students' interest in anthro and blow their minds a bit.
Would I call this scientific? Probably not... And, anecdotally, I did not get sick or "exhausted" after either of my tattoos...what does that indicate?