19 Year Study Finds Autism Higher Among Boys Who Were Circumcised as Infants

A new study has found that regardless of cultural background, circumcised boys are more likely than intact boys to develop autism spectrum disorder before the age of 10 years, with an especially higher risk factor for developing autism before the age of five. The same study (unexpectedly) found that circumcised boys from non-Muslim families are also more likely to develop hyperkinetic disorder (hyperactivity, ADHD and neurological disturbances).

Researchers hypothesize that the extreme pain of genital cutting an infant endures during (and following) circumcision may impact the brain and the way that the body responds to stress. Previous observations have suggested PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is widespread among infants circumcised at birth (with higher rates of 'colic' and reflux, failure to thrive, increased difficulty breastfeeding, agitation, fussiness, withdrawal) and that the brain is permanently impacted.


Objective: Based on converging observations in animal, clinical and ecological studies, we hypothesised a possible impact of ritual circumcision on the subsequent risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young boys.

Design: National, register-based cohort study.

Setting: Denmark.

Participants: A total of 342,877 boys born between 1994 and 2003 and followed in the age span 0–9 years between 1994 and 2013. Main outcome measures: Information about cohort mem- bers’ ritual circumcisions, confounders and ASD outcomes, as well as two supplementary outcomes, hyperkinetic dis- order and asthma, was obtained from national registers. Hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) associated with foreskin status were obtained using Cox proportional hazards regression analyses.

Results: With a total of 4986 ASD cases, our study showed that regardless of cultural background circumcised boys were more likely than intact boys to develop ASD before age 10 years (HR 1⁄4 1.46; 95% CI: 1.11–1.93). Risk was par- ticularly high for infantile autism before age five years (HR 1⁄4 2.06; 95% CI: 1.36–3.13). Circumcised boys in non- Muslim families were also more likely to develop hyperkin- etic disorder (HR 1⁄4 1.81; 95% CI: 1.11–2.96). Associations with asthma were consistently inconspicuous (HR1⁄40.96; 95% CI: 0.84–1.10).

Conclusions: We confirmed our hypothesis that boys who undergo ritual circumcision may run a greater risk of developing ASD. This finding, and the unexpected observation of an increased risk of hyperactivity disorder among circumcised boys in non-Muslim families, need attention, particularly because data limitations most likely rendered our HR estimates conservative. Considering the wide- spread practice of non-therapeutic circumcision in infancy and childhood around the world, confirmatory studies should be given priority.

Full Text: http://jrs.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/01/07/0141076814565942.full.pdf

News Reports:

American Association for the Advancement of Science: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-01/sp-rcl010815.php

Science 2.0 (global): http://www.science20.com/news_articles/circumcision_linked_to_autism_study-152121

NeuroScientist News (global): http://www.neuroscientistnews.com/research-news/ritual-circumcision-linked-increased-risk-autism-young-boys

Inquisitr: http://www.inquisitr.com/1739905/circumcision-and-autism-linked-circumcised-boys-at-greater-risk-of-developing-autism-and-adhd-new-study-reveals/

Huffington Post (UK): http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/01/09/circumcision-under-five-autism-study_n_6441844.html

DailyMail (UK) autism and circumcision news report: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2902214/Circumcised-boys-likely-develop-autism-ADHD-10.html

Yahoo News (UK & Ireland) autism and circumcision report: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/circumcision-doubles-autism-risk-000507196.html

Mirror (UK) autism and circumcision news report: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/circumcision-young-boys-can-double-4945643

Metro Times (Detroit, MI): http://www.metrotimes.com/Blogs/archives/2015/01/09/new-study-links-male-circumcison-to-autism

New to the subject of circumcision and the purposes of the prepuce? Begin an investigation into the subject: http://www.drmomma.org/2014/12/should-i-circumcise-my-son-pros-and.html


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