NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Yale medical officials say they have linked a woman's brain abscess to her tongue piercing.

The woman, in her mid-20s, developed symptoms of a brain abscess 18 months ago after removing a stud from her infected tongue. She had difficulty walking and showed signs of clumsiness.

Brain abscesses are usually caused by ear or sinus infections, and had not previously been linked to tongue piercing, said Dr. Richard Martinello, an infectious disease specialist at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

``The bacteria that caused the abscess in this patient were those typically found in persons' mouths,'' he said.

The woman had brain surgery and recovered after being treated with antibiotics.

Martinello said he believes tongue piecing is fairly low-risk but because it is impossible to make the mouth sterile, there is always some risk of infection.