Health Brief: Don't Try This At Home

Speaking with a forked tongue used to be a bad thing. Now it's apparently a rad thing among those who aren't content merely to pierce their tongue, eyebrows, nose, lips, nipples and other, more delicate body parts. Yes, a small number of thrill seekers and rebels--estimates range from 500 to 2,000--have slashed their tongues to try to give them a more serpentine appearance. And that has more than a few doctors and dentists worried.

Piercing the tongue is dangerous enough; splitting it is even more so and has the added disadvantage of being difficult to reverse. The major risks are infection--which...

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