Autism: No, it's not caused by glyphosate or circumcision, but is likely in our genes

What causes autism? The causes are endless, and mounting, if the Internet is to believed as a reliable source. It's variously: vaccines, GMOs, glyphosate, chemicals in our home, fluoride in water, telephone wires, cell phones and even chemtrails left by jet planes. Oh yes...and males should not be circumcised for there is strong links between boys going under the knife and cases of autism.

When it comes to discussing autism, human emotions escalate. Experts are pretty clear on the issue: they don't really know for sure, but they find very little evidence for any of the above named causes. No matter what the experts say, society is awash with claiming that the experts simply do not know what they're talking about.

On "The Thinking Moms' Revolution" blog, for example, one extremely anguished mother of an autistic child basic claims she has had it up to here from "these people"--meaning, the so-called experts who have carefully researched studied the issue and others who cite reports from responsible journalists, explaining that the cause of autism is not what she believes it is:

After a decade of some disappointing and one-sided conversations, I refuse to go toe-to-toe with these people anymore, because they are not going to hear me, and I am not going to hear them. But I would like to go on record with a quick list of how I know it did (in my son’s situation), and does happen. VACCINES CAN CAUSE “AUTISM.” THEY CAUSED MY SON’S “AUTISM.” THEY CAUSED MANY OF MY FRIENDS’ CHILDREN’S “AUTISM.”

Much of the rest of the blog presents "evidence" in the form of observations that she made while working in a pediatrician's office. Her take home message: embrace my unpublished anecdotes and don't bother me with expert opinion and peer-reviewed studies. Oh, and she's not don't with the finger-pointing. She also takes a swipe at the herbicide glyphosate, often used with herbicide tolerant GMO crops:

Many things can be connected to the declining health of America, but some things stand out: the uptake in vaccines; the uptake in the use of Roundup and GMOs; the uptake in general use of chemicals with no safety data, making vaccines just that much more potentially harmful. All combining to poison our children.

She's understandably devastated at her child's challenges, but she's just plain wrong. Along with purification of the water supply (using "chemicals") vaccines are the greatest success in public health in all of human history. Nevertheless, it's easy to understand why a parent of an autistic child would be so upset. When the reason for a condition has not been defined, it's extremely frustrating and it's natural to want a clear explanation for what is driving this problem.

In fact, there may be some real environmental factors at play and science may uncover them at some point. However, the current understanding of genetics is beginning to show that the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) depends mostly on a child's genes, not on anything in the environment, nor anything ingested by, injected into, or snipped from the child.

Autism: Is it really on the rise?

The numbers appear to be startling. Consider, for instance, how CNN presented the statistics in a recent article:

The new number i[of autism diagnoses] s a 30% increase from two years ago..In 2000 and 2002, the autism estimate was about 1 in 150 children. Two years later 1 in 125 8-year-olds was believed to have autism. In 2006, the number grew to 1 in 110, and then the number went up to 1 in 88 based on 2008 data.

It's important to address the premise that the number of cases is rising. It actually probably is not. CDC data do show the number of ASD diagnoses has increased over the last couple of decades. However, the observed increase has been shown to be the result of a broadening of the diagnostic criteria used by mental health professionals.

Here are some autism causing culprits found on websites that act as water coolers for families with afflicted children:

Vaccine haters: Old news, but still the most famous and dangerous spreaders of mass confusion

Anti-vaxers who blame the rise in ASD diagnoses of the last few decades on the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine continue to cite as evidence the notorious, fraudulent Andrew Wakefield study. Several years after it was published in the prestigious British journal, The Lancet, by Wakefield and 11 colleagues, the journal retracted the paper. Wakefield had faked the study. It appears he was conducting research for a group of parents of autistic children planning to sue MMR manufacturing companies, and was poised to benefit financially from the reintroduction of individual vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella.

Unlike the anti-vaxers who cite his study, Wakefield's position is that that combined MMR vaccine does not prevent measles, but that the individual measles vaccine does. He blames the recent outbreaks in the United States on the use of MMR vaccine instead of the individual measles vaccine. However, the absurdity of Wakefield's claim has been highlighted by the fact that the outbreaks are occurring among children of wealthy, MMR-rejecting parents, particularly in southern California.

Anti-vaxers have made Wakefield their hero, martyred by the medical establishment. Lashing out at mainstream media in the US and the UK, they claim the media is engaged in a conspiracy to silence the truth tellers, as illustrated in this anti-vax blog:

Even NPR - including Ira Flatow's "Science Friday" program - has stooped so low as to feature several programs/reports (that I accidentally happened to hear) vilifying Wakefield without allowing him to defend himself!! I suspect that the same one-sided attacks have been on the major networks and FOXNews as well.

Wakefield and those who believe that the increase in the application of vaccine is driving autism cases often site correlation charts, which map one phenomenon against another. Below is a chart popular among Japanese anti-vaccers, It shows that autism rotates rose and fell during the 1990s almost precisely in line with measles vaccination rates.

080603_terada_graph

Notice how the purple line graph (representing the rate of ASD cases) goes up along with the blue bar graph (representing number of MMR vaccinations). This looks persuasive. But it's not science. It's very easy to put two graphs together, but in science correlation between two things does not mean that one thing caused the other. With the right computer app, you could generate similar correlations between autism various other phenomena that have increased over the years. Let's look at another one of them.

Glyphosate

As with the MMR vaccine, use of this herbicide in corn and soy crops can be plotted and superimposed on a plot of of the increase in ASD diagnoses over the years. This was done by a Ph.D. computer scientist at MIT, Stephanie Seneff, now a hero of the groups that blamed glyphosate --used in tandem with many genetically modified crops, for autism, and it looks like this:

gloysphate seneff

By extrapolating forward in time based on the numbers in the plot, Seneff was able to conclude: "At today’s rate, by 2025, one in two children will be autistic."

Organic-food-sales-and-autism-correlation
Click image for larger version.

ONE in TWO children will be autistic. That is some major claim, but the conclusion is based on the same fallacy that was mentioned above---the mistaken belief that correlation implies causality. If it did, then ASD would also have to be blamed on other factors that have been increasing over the last several years, and similar extrapolations could be made for increased ASD diagnoses based on projected increases of those factors. A few that come to mind are increases in numbers of smart phones (that's certain to increase between now and 2025), an increased number of bicycles--or the increase in the consumption of organic foods:

Gluten

A simple Google search will reveal articles highlighting anecdotes about children who recovered from autism after going gluten free. However, even the anti-gluten website, glutenfree.com, notes that no conclusive evidence exists linking gluten to autism. Some people cite a 2013 study finding a slight elevation in antibodies against one of the gluten proteins in autistic children compared with non-autistic children, but that is hardly evidence of causality. Getting down to the hard science, the only thing that's certain about gluten is that it's devastating for people who have celiac disease. In recent years, gluten has been blamed for various syndromes, mostly involving gastrointestinal symptoms, but it turns out that these conditions are caused by other agents, called FODMAPs, present in the food alongside the gluten. All and all, there is no convincing evidence that autism stems from any dietary cause.

Circumcision: Something is rotten in Denmark

In recent years, certain countries in western Europe have become hotbeds of movements against circumcision of male infants. In connection with this, a Danish study looking at more than 340,000 boys circumcised from the early 1990s to the early 2000s revealed a slight association between circumcision and ASD. Over the years, the small but highly vocal anti-circumcision movement has latched onto this study to suggest that the finding means that surgical removal of the foreskin causes the brain to develop in a way that makes the child autistic:

Painful experiences in neonates have been shown in animal and human studies to be associated with long-term alterations in pain perception, a characteristic often encountered among children with ASD... The present study was carried out to address the hypothesis that ASD might be a rare adverse outcome in boys undergoing ritual circumcision during a vulnerable period in life."

It's hokum. A policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (which recommends leaving circumcision as a decision of the parents, as it always has been) explains not only what's wrong with the Danish conclusion, but also address a fundamental precept of science:

"One has to be very careful drawing any conclusions from studies like this...Correlation does not imply or prove causation."

In other words, the anti-circumcision people have made the same exact mistake with circumcision that Stephanie Seneff has made with glyphosate.

What really causes autism?

As noted in the opening of this analysis, the blamed causes of ASD is extensive. The list of potential culprits is literally endless and often absurd. Mercury from dental amalgam has been blamed, for example, but as one blogger put it very well, "Where are all the autistic children of dentists?"

Environmental factors being studied for the possibility that they may contribute to ASD include exposure to an anti-seizure drug called valproic acid and another agent called thalidomide during fetal or embryonic life. However, most of the cause is probably genetic. A new study by the Medical Research Council, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, has revealed that most cases of ASD-74 to 98 percent—have no environmental cause. Using 516 twins as subjects, the study shows that ASD is almost completely in the genes that you inherit from your parents. That's it. Not from drugs during pregnancy, MMR vaccines, and not from glyphosate, or circumcision, but pure genetics, for at least 74 percent of cases and possibly a lot more. Additionally, the study shows that not just ASD, but individual autistic features (attributes of autism that many people exhibit without being autistic) also are determined by the same genetic association. That suggests that having a family member with ASD increases the chances of having autistism-like features, which makes sense. After all, genes do have something to do with brain development.

David Warmflash is an astrobiologist, physician and science writer. Follow @CosmicEvolution to read what he is saying on Twitter.

  • tonybateson

    David Warmflash says ‘autism is likely in the genes’. Before writing such a long tract any scientist should surely disprove the notion that autism is in fact more likely to be wood preservative in the veins of autistic children. After all its completely safe the pharmaceutical industry says because we have used it in vaccines for seventy years.

  • Harold L Doherty

    The authors of this recent linked study published on the US NIH site may not have your autism expertise as an astrobiologist but the found reason to be concerned about Aluminum in all sources including vaccines. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4202242/
    Aluminum-Induced Entropy in Biological Systems: Implications for Neurological Disease

  • ml66uk

    If there is no link between autism and male circumcision, then why have two peer-reviewed studies, using very different methods, found such strong correlations between autism/ASD and infant male circumcision? The causes of autism clearly aren’t all genetic, since there are so many discordant pairs of identical twins.

    “One has to be very careful drawing any conclusions from studies like this…Correlation does not imply or prove causation.”

    Yes, we know that, but to dismiss such strong correlations as “hokum” rather than something that needs to be investigated suggests considerable bias.

    “Circumcision: Something is rotten in Denmark”
    The other study was written in the USA.

    “Over the years, the small but highly vocal anti-circumcision movement has latched onto this study to suggest that the finding means that surgical removal of the foreskin causes the brain to develop in a way that makes the child autistic”

    1) the study referred to was only published two months ago.
    2) the anti-circumcision movement includes national medical organizations, notably in Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.

    “A policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (which recommends leaving circumcision as a decision of the parents, as it always has been) explains not only what’s wrong with the Danish conclusion”
    The AAP itself has made no such response to the study. The quote comes from Dr Diekema, who is a member of the AAP task force on circumcision, which created the policy statement. He also apparently said this, which suggests a disturbing lack of understanding on his part:

    There are *two* peer-reviewed studies which found strong correlations between infant male circumcision and autism/ASD. This needs to be followed up as a matter of urgency. If the same results are found elsewhere, then it seems highly likely that a number of cases of autism could be prevented simply by not circumcising, or possibly doing it later in life, or by using general anesthetic during the operation or different pain relief for post-operative pain (it could be paracetamol causing the problem).

    The studies are here:

    Bauer, Kriebel, 2013
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23656698
    http://www.ehjournal.net/content/12/1/41
    “For studies including boys born after 1995, there was a strong correlation between country-level (n = 9) autism/ASD prevalence in males and a country’s circumcision rate (r = 0.98). A very similar pattern was seen among U.S. states and when comparing the 3 main racial/ethnic groups in the U.S.”

    Frisch, Simonsen, 2015
    http://jrs.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/01/07/0141076814565942.abstract (free to download)
    “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 = 1.46; 95% CI: 1.11–1.93). Risk was particularly high for infantile autism before age five years (HR = 2.06; 95% CI: 1.36–3.13).”

    In the words of the recent study:
    “These findings obviously do not prove the suggested associations. However, in combination with recent animal studies showing lifelong deficits in stress responses following exposure to just one single neonatal insult, the observed strong correlation between circumcision and ASD prevalence, and clinical observations of long-term changes in pain perception in circumcised infants, our population-based findings should prompt other researchers to examine the possibility that circumcision trauma in infancy or early childhood might carry an increased risk of serious, yet hitherto unappreciated negative neurodevelopmental and psychological consequences.”

    • Bilbo Baggins

      Just to get this straight, only the Frisch study looked into a statistical link between circumcision and autism. The Bauer – Kriebel study looked into the statistical relationship between paracetamol and autism.

      The Frisch study concluded that there was a correlation between circumcision and autism. (btw Frisch was an active anti-circumcision campaigner long before he decided to conduct this research – which does bring his impartiality into question, does it not!)

      The Bauer-Kriebel study concluded that there was a correlation between Calpol and autism.

      Neither has a viable mechanism for this correlation. Both are contradicted by other evidence, and neither even claims they have evidence of a causal link.

      Quite frankly there is more evidence that inbred Texans are being abducted and anally probed by little green men so to describe this assertion as “hokem” is quite reasonable.

      • ml66uk

        The Bauer & Kriebel study used infant male circumcision as a proxy for exposure to paracetamol, but what they actually found was a strong correlation between infant male circumcision and autism/ASD. That could well be due to paracetamol exposure, but the evidence for that is less clear, though it is likely that circumcised infants will have higher exposuse to paracetamol. Even that would mean several tens of thousands of males diagnosed with autism because they were exposed to paracetamol because they were circumcised though. Both studies cited several papers as evidence for two separate proposed mechanisms.

        Yes, Morten Frisch is opposed to infant male circumcision, but the data is what it is, and neither he nor his co-author Simonsen would have been able to change that.

        • Bilbo Baggins

          Indeed, the data is what it is… and has rightly been dismissed by everyone other than intactivists because it is so weak and completely contradicted by the readily available circumcision rate and autism diagnosis rate in countries around the world.

          The suggested mechanism doesn’t hold water since most young children experience pain from an accident at some point, and most young children are given Calpol for some reason.

          “Hokem” is a very fair assessment.

          I note you don’t argue for MMR being the cause of autism and yet even without Wakefield’s fraudulent study the correlation evidence supporting MMR as the cause of autism is still stronger than that of circumcision.

          Since your obsession is with the foreskin it is no surprise that you, like Frisch, refuse to see any other conslusion than “circumcision did it”!

          • ml66uk

            So who exactly has “dismissed” these studies, and what is so “weak” about the data? They seem very strong to me. Where are the contradictions that are so “readily available”? The Bauer & Kriebel study was published almost two years ago, and I haven’t seen any rebuttals.

            “Across all country-level studies prior to the widespread use of paracetamol for circumcision (all born prior to 1995), the weighted average autism/ASD male to female prevalence ratio was 3.9 to 1. For the post 1995 cohort, this ratio increased to 5.6 to 1.”

            Your suggestion that both mechanisms don’t “hold water” because all children experience pain, and most young children are given Calpol, but neonatal circumcision is recognised as a significantly painful event, and boys circumcised as infants receive significantly more paracetamol, and at a very young age.

            From the studies:
            “None of the most common interventions used to reduce circumcision pain completely eliminates it,17 and a non-trivial proportion of boys will suffer from pain due to anaesthetic failure.9,13,14 Thus, while most boys presumably experience mild to moderate levels of pain and discomfort during and after the operation, some boys will endure strongly painful circumcisions.”
            AAP “guidelines include the suggestion of a first dose of paracetamol two hours prior to the procedure, and doses every 4–6 hours for 24 hours following the procedure. Thus newborn males often receive 5–7 doses of paracetamol during the developmentally vulnerable initial days of life.”

            I don’t think anyone thinks there’s a single cause of autism, but there’s almost no evidence for the MMR vaccine except for the Wakefield study, which was based on 12 case studies, every single one of which seems to have been misrepresented, and it seemed extraordinarily weak even before the undisclosed conflicts of interest emerged. My children were all born around the time this was a big issue, and I was amazed that anyone was taking it seriously.

          • Bilbo Baggins

            Firstly, I am pleased that you acknowledge that the Bauer & Kriebel study found that there was a correlation between paracetamol and autism, NOT circumcision and autism: their conclusions contradict the conclusions of the Frisch study…. and yet you still use both as “evidence” that there might be a link between autism and circumcision!

            You are wrong about the MMR vaccine evidence. It most certainly IS possible to find “compelling” correlation evidence for a link since Autism diagnosis rose quickly along with the spread of the MMR vaccine.
            It was Wakefield’s fraudulent study that took it from correlation evidence to something more meaningful… until he was found out.

            Bodies dealing with Autism have websites
            discussing, amongst other things, the possible causes of Autism. NONE mention either circumcision or paracetamol as even possible risk factors. None at all. Please feel free to post a link to some obscure agency if you find one! It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that they have ALL dismissed both paracetamol and circumcision as contributory factors as I’m sure they are aware of the studies.

            The National Autistic Society (UK)

            http://www.autism.org.uk

            NHS (UK)

            http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Autistic-spectrum-disorder/Pages/Causes.aspx

            Autism Society (US)

            http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/causes/

            CDC
            http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

            Autism Europe

            http://www.autismeurope.org

            And it is not even mentioned by the Autism society in Denmark:

            http://dk.specialisterne.com/en/about-specialisterne/autism-spectrum-disorder-asd/

            In fact, if it wasn’t for Intactivists and their desperation to find harm in circumcision so they don’t have to keep making things up, these studies wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

          • ml66uk

            I’m no longer clear if you’re trolling or not, but Bauer & Kriebel study most definitely found that there was a correlation between paracetamol and circumcision. In their words:
            “For studies including boys born after 1995, there was a strong correlation between country-level (n = 9) autism/ASD prevalence in males and a country’s circumcision rate (r = 0.98). A very similar pattern was seen among U.S. states and when comparing the 3 main racial/ethnic groups in the U.S.”

            They postulated that this was due to increased neonatal exposure to paracetamol, and this seems likely, but their data still suggest that there are several tens of thousands of American men diagnosed with autism who would not have received such a diagnosis had they not been exposed to significant dosages of paracetamol because they were circumcised.

            The studies suggested different mechanisms, but did *not* contradict each other, and they both quite clearly provided evidence of a possible link between autism and infant male circumcision.

            Just because the websites the various autism organizations don’t mention these studies doesn’t mean they’ve dismissed them. One of the studies is only two months old anyway.

            “You are wrong about the MMR vaccine evidence. It most certainly IS possible to find “compelling” correlation evidence for a link since Autism diagnosis rose quickly along with the spread of the MMR vaccine.”

            If you know of any peer-reviewed papers which provide evidence for a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism, I’d be very interested to see them. Just pointing out that levels of both rose at the same time isn’t any kind of serious evidence at all.

            “In fact, if it wasn’t for Intactivists and their desperation to find harm in circumcision so they don’t have to keep making things up, these studies wouldn’t have seen the light of day.”
            None of them made any of their data up, and Bauer & Kriebel are hardly intactivists. In fact they seem perhaps too keen to shift the possible blame away from the circumcision itself to the paracetamol, the use of which was prompted by circumcision.

          • Bilbo Baggins

            The two studies contradict each other as the Bauer & Kriebel concludes it is NOT circumcision but paracetamol that has a correlation with autism, while the Frisch study concludes there is a correlation between circumcision and autism.

            If any one autism body considered these studies in any way significant they would have added them to the list of possible contributing factors. None have. Not even one.

            No reputable medical body supports a link between autism and MMR. This is because the only evidence is a correlation – one increased at the same time as the other. The cirucumcision/autism evidence is also a weak correlation which is why it has been dismissed scientifically.

            I wasn’t claiming these studies were made up (just that they are no more significant than the correlation with organic food or MMR). I was claiming that Intactivists generally lie and exaggerate consistently in order to promote their obsession. Some of this is down to lack of understanding of facts and figures they read, but most is deliberate misinformation posted on Intactivist web sites and regurgitated by willfully ignorant intactivists on every possible website.

          • GreenRaccoon23

            “Contradict” is too strong; “differ” is more accurate. The Bauer & Kribel study showed neither a significant NOR an insignificant correlation between circumcision and ASD because it focused on a different one altogether. The researchers in it did suggest a positive correlation between circumcision and ASD, but they did not show it explicitly with evidence because their data focused on a different issue. It was a hypothesis gleaned from their data, not one supported by it.

            The Fisch study really intrigues me. I feel like Dr. House. :P It’s a high sample study which shows a huge positive correlation between circumcision and ASD, despite the fact that many other data sources would suggest a negative correlation (such as the fact that ASD diagnosis rates in the US have risen as circumcision rates have fallen).

            If I were researching this, I’d hypothesize that it’s not a casual relationship at all but rather a genetic one. To research it, I’d see whether circumcision seems to run in families. If that were true, it could open the door to pinning down the nature of this curious, bizarre correlation between circumcision and ASD. It’ll be fun to see where researchers go with this.

          • M Lyndon

            1) The Bauer & Kriebel study used circumcision as a proxy for acetaminophen exposure, not the other way round, and it found a very strong and significant correlation between infant male circ and autism. Their assumption (which could be correct) seems to have been that it was solely due to acetaminophen exposure.
            2) ASD diagnosis rates are indeed rising, but that isn’t relevant to whether or not circumcised males are more likely to be diagnosed. Dr Diekema, who really should have known better, made the same mistake.
            3) I think we all know that circumcision runs in families. It’s plausible that people who are more likely to pass on autism could also be more likely to have their children circumcised for whatever reason, but that’s not something that would be easy either to prove or disprove – it certainly looks harder than what’s been done so far.
            4) I’m not sure why you’d find the correlations found by these studies to be curious or bizarre. They’re unexpected maybe, but both provided lots of references suggesting two different mechanisms which could explain the correlations.

          • M Lyndon

            The Bauer & Kriebel study used circumcision as a proxy for acetaminophen exposure, not the other way round, and it found a very strong and significant correlation between infant male circ and autism. Their assumption (which could be correct) seems to have been that it was solely due to acetaminophen exposure.

            I’m pretty sure I understand correlations, hazard ratios and confidence intervals better than most, and those studies both found strong and statistically significant correlations. Any statistician could tell you that they are nothing like the proposed correlations with organic food or MMR (for which most of the evidence is a shockingly poor paper based on 12 case studies by the author of the paper who had an undisclosed financial interest).

            It’s too soon to say that there’s a causal relationship between autism/ASD and circumcision, or exposure to acetaminophen, but if similar correlations had been found between any autism/ASD and any other elective intervention with questionable medical benefits, I think there’d have been a lot more publicity, and people would have turned away from that intervention as a precaution. If I’d been on the fence about having a son circumcised, this would be more than enough evidence to convince me not to. If I were going ahead anyway, I’d definitely want to postpone it till later, and I’d be looking for alternatives to acetaminophen for pain relief, If I were a pregnant women, I’d also be avoiding acetaminophen during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

          • Alexandrea

            Bilbo, We all know circumcision has far more drawbacks than benefits.

          • ac05jn

            has anyone found a link between torture and autism?
            “Vomiting
            It was my sad task to publish a case report about a baby who experienced severe vomiting after being circumcised. Following the vomiting spell, the baby stopped breathing and had to be hospitalized for five days so that he could receive intravenous antibiotics. Needless to say, this never would have occurred had the baby been protected from circumcision.
            Infants respond to the pain of circumcision by screaming, just as we would if someone slowly crushed and cut off part of our sex organs without anesthetic. When the crying is especially intense, the baby may swallow air. Then, when the mother tries to soothe her baby by feeding him, it may lead to vomiting, followed by apnea.

            Apnea (Stopped Breathing)
            Apnea is the temporary cessation of breathing. The pain of circumcision is so severe that some babies stop breathing during the surgery. In an important study on the pain of circumcision published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers discovered that serious complications occurred during circumcision. One infant experienced the same level of extreme distress as all the others in the study, but two and a half minutes after the conclusion of the surgery, the baby developed an abnormal posture, stopped breathing, and suffered projectile vomiting even though he had been denied food for more than three hours before the surgery. Another baby experienced a choking spell and stopped breathing three and a half minutes after the surgery.
            The researchers noticed these serious complications because they were looking for them. One wonders how many babies suffer without anyone taking notice or caring, or even thinking there is anything wrong with projectile vomiting, choking, or cessation of breathing.

            Rupture of Internal Organs
            Circumcision is so traumatic, painful, and frightening that it literally terrorizes the baby. Some babies have suffered extreme reactions to this experience that few adults could ever imagine possible.

            Rupture of the Lung
            The medical literature details cases of circumcised babies whose lungs have burst as a result of intense crying. In one case, at Georgetown University School of Medicine, a fifteen-day-old baby with severe respiratory distress was circumcised. He turned blue, started breathing frantically, and cried incessantly. Finally, doctors discovered that the crying had caused the baby’s right lung to burst. A drainage tube was inserted and the baby was hospitalized for nineteen days.

            Blood Clots in the Lung
            A case of life-threatening blood clots in the lung was reported following adult circumcision.

            Heart Damage
            The serious injury that circumcision can cause to other parts of the body is made clear in reports of babies whose hearts were damaged as a result of circumcision . In one case from Rochester, New York, a newborn baby was circumcised in the delivery room, even though the American Academy of Pediatricians has condemned this practice. The baby immediately turned blue, experienced grunting respirations, his temperature dropped to a dangerous level, and his heart muscle was damaged. This baby miraculously survived, but spent eleven days in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
            In another published report, four babies who were hospitalized following circumcision turned blue, were lifeless, had elevated heartbeats, frantic breathing, grunting, and extremely poor breathing. The liver was enlarged in three of the babies, and all babies showed signs of acute heart failure, enlarged heart, and fluid in the lungs. All four babies had been circumcised by the same circumciser, who had tried to controll the bleeding with epinephrine solution. The doctors who fought to save the lives of these babies believe that the drug may have induced the chain of events that nearly killed these innocent babies.

            Rupture of the Stomach
            In Richmond, Virginia, a healthy two-day-old baby was prepared for circumcision by denying him food for five hours. Terrified, the baby began crying hysterically as soon as the circumciser strapped him to the restraining board. After half an hour in this position, the baby vomited. Doctors pumped his stomach. The circumciser proceeded to amputate the baby’s foreskin without anesthesia using a Gemco clamp. The baby cried vehemently throughout the ninety-minute ordeal. After the surgery, the baby refused to feed. His abdomen became distended and doctors discovered that his stomach had ruptured, requiring emergency abdominal surgery and the insertion of a feeding tube. After twenty-five days in the hospital, the baby was released. This baby had a perfectly normal stomach when he was born, but the trauma, excruciating pain of circumcision, and his prolonged crying caused his stomach to burst and spill its contents into the abdominal cavity.”

            -What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM): Circumcision: Untold Facts on America’s Most Widely Perfomed-and Most Unnecessary-Surgery

  • Seth Bittker

    David,

    Take a look at the JAMA Psychiatry study you have cited. The researchers take a number of sets of twins and observe that identical twins have a significantly higher probability of sharing an autism diagnosis. Thus, according to their reasoning, autism is primarily genetic.

    Any conclusion about the relative importance of genetics and the environment in development of autism is not warranted based on such a study. Think about it: in almost all cases twins share the same womb, same date and place of birth, same home after birth, same feeding practices and schedules, same chemical exposures, same foods, and same supplements and medical treatments. In fact in most cases for the first few years of their lives they are exposed to the same people and same activities. In essence for all practical purposes the environment of a twin is the same as his or her sibling twin. So is it any wonder if one does a twin study looking at genetic and environment factors in autism and one varies genes by categorizing by identical vs nonidentical twins but the environment is essentially the same for each twin pair that it appears that genetic factors dominate?

    In addition as ml66uk suggests the data is quite good on circumcision. In addition there is a reasonable explanation for why this could be a factor given that modern practice is provide acetaminophen with circumcision to ameliorate pain and there is other research also showing strong associations between acetaminophen use and autism.

    • johndmac

      Here’s an interesting connection between environmental and genetic factors:

      “Some of the identified genetic risk factors for autism are de novo mutations, meaning that the genetic defect is not present in either of the parents’ genes, yet can be found in the genes of the child when a new genetic mutation forms in a parent’s germ cells (egg or sperm), potentially from exposure to contaminants. Many environmental contaminants have been identified as agents capable of causing mutations in DNA, by leading to oxidative DNA damage and by inhibiting the body’s normal ability to repair DNA damage.”

      EPA. 2013. America’s Children and the Environment. Page 240.
      http://www.epa.gov/ace/publications/ACE3_2013.pdf

    • AndRebecca

      In twin studies they are supposed to find and study separated twins, or as you stated the studies are no good. There are modern mothering practices and nutrition practices which should be looked into re: autism. Social expectations and pressure on small boys is greater and may be the cause of learning disabilities and of them shutting off mentally. We used to teach the young through play and having them help around the house, and waited much longer to engage them in actual school work. We did that for a reason. It was considered harmful to boys especially, to regiment them too early or to have them learn to read too early. On the other hand, they need to be read to, and they need to start memorization at an early age. Also, we are giving more vaccines to children at earlier ages and they can have adverse reactions to them. And soy products which are given to infants and children are not a replacement for animal protein and could harm brain development.

  • RolandDay

    Circumcision of male children is not medically necessary or desirable, but doctors like to do them because of the extra fee for surgery that they get.

    http://www.cirp.org/library/pain/anand/

    After it was conclusively proven that babies fees pain in 1987, doctors started giving babies acetaminophen. It did not do much to ease the surgical pain or circumcision, but it soothed the conscience of parents and allowed circumcision profits to continue.

    That is about the time that the incidence of autism took off.

    The real solution is to stop circumcising male infants, because they would not need acetaminophen and would not get autism.

    The hokum is in the AAP statement on circumcision which is entirely a self-serving attempt to get more money into the pockets of doctors.

    http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/pdf/2013-04-24_Commentary.pdf

    • Bilbo Baggins

      Love your Intactivist propaganda sources. Biased? Just a bit!

      • RolandDay

        Hi Bilbo:

        When an adult male comes forward to advocate and defend the practice of cutting the foreskin off of an infant in violation of his right to physical integrity, we usually find that the male suffered the trauma of circumcision himself and has a compulsion to repeat and reenact the trauma on others.

        https://genitalwholeness.wordpress.com/article/circumcision-and-human-behavior-2y9nanfagw8nr-13/

        Do you fit that pattern?

        • Bilbo Baggins

          The last gasp from a loosing argument! How amusing.

          So in your little world there are two kinds of people : those who agree with you, and those who agree with you but don’t want to admit it. How egotistical you are! Most children have grown out of that stage by age 3.

          Might I suggest you broaden your knowledge base? Perhaps then you will realise that the Intactivist propoganda sites you rely on for your information are filled with exaggerations, self-pity and downright lies.

          • ml66uk

            Are these “intactivist propaganda sites” too?

            Canadian Paediatric Society
            http://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/circumcision
            “Recommendation: Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”

            http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/circumcision
            “Circumcision is a ‘non-therapeutic’ procedure, which means it is not medically necessary.”
            “After reviewing the scientific evidence for and against circumcision, the CPS does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn boys. Many paediatricians no longer perform circumcisions.”

            Royal Australasian College of Physicians
            http://www.racp.edu.au/index.cfm?objectid=65118B16-F145-8B74-236C86100E4E3E8E
            “After reviewing the currently available evidence, the RACP believes that the frequency of diseases modifiable by circumcision, the level of protection offered by circumcision and the complication rates of circumcision do not warrant routine infant circumcision in Australia and New Zealand.”
            (almost all the men responsible for this statement will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision rate in Australia in 1950 was about 90%. “Routine” circumcision is now *banned* in public hospitals in Australia.)

            British Medical Association
            http://bma.org.uk/-/media/Files/PDFs/Practical%20advice%20at%20work/Ethics/Circumcision.pdf
            “to circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate.”

            The Royal Dutch Medical Association
            http://knmg.artsennet.nl/Diensten/knmgpublicaties/KNMGpublicatie/Nontherapeutic-circumcision-of-male-minors-2010.htm
            “The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity.”

            http://www.crin.org/resources/infodetail.asp?id=31830
            “[30 September 2013] – At a meeting today in Oslo, the children’s ombudspersons from the five Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland), and the children’s spokesperson from Greenland, in addition to representatives of associations of Nordic paediatricians and pediatric surgeons, have agreed to work with their respective national governments to achieve a ban on non-therapeutic circumcision of underage boys.”

            German Pediatric Association
            http://www.intactamerica.org/german_pediatrics_statement
            (very long, but very much against circumcision, and includes the following)
            “Therefore it is not understandable that circumcision of boys should be allowed but that of girls prohibited worldwide. Male circumcision is basically comparable with FGM types Ia and Ib that the Schafi Islamic school of law supports”

            http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/12/peds.2012-2896.abstract
            “The other claimed health benefits, including protection against HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, and penile cancer, are questionable, weak, and likely to have little public health relevance in a Western context, and they do not represent compelling reasons for surgery before boys are old enough to decide for themselves.”
            (Written in direct response to the AAP’s position statement on male circumcision, and signed by 38 senior physicians, about half of them presidents or chairs of national paediatric or urological organisations).

          • Bilbo Baggins

            Lies, damned lies and Intactivists! NONE of these organisations, in fact NO reputable medical organisation in the world, makes claims of harm anything like the Intactivist sites our friend is quoting from.

            And even with this list you (they) have produced a one sided, biased and exaggerated account designed to deceive!

            Canadian Paediatric Society

            A truthful summary of their position would be that they do not consider the advantages of circumcision great enough to warrant routine
            circumcision. They do not oppose circumcision, they do not make ridiculous claims about the harm it causes, and they state that they have no view on the ethical position.

            A truthful summary would also note that the policy was written nine years ago, without the benefit of the more recent evidence which persuaded the CDC and AAP to change their position to encouragement of circumcision.

            Royal Australasian College of Physicians

            Deliberate misrepresentation!
            The Intactivists who wrote this “forgot” to include the final sentence from that quote:

            “However it is reasonable for parents to weigh the benefits and risks of circumcision and to make the decision whether or not to circumcise their sons.”

            So, as with the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Australians do not oppose circumcision and do not make ridiculous claims about the harm it causes. They just do not believe the benefits are worth it.

            British Medical Association

            Now we get on to the real lies!
            You see, the document they reference is a consultation document with the views of some members on the ethics, NOT the position of the BMA at all! Lies, damned lies, and Intactivism!

            The BMA position is “ The BMA believes that parents should be entitled to make choices about how best to promote their children’s interests.”

            http://jme.bmj.com/content/30/3/259.full

            The truth is that the BMA, like the Australians and Canadians, do not believe the benefits are sufficient to warrant routine circumcision. They do not oppose circumcision and do not
            make the ridiculous claims of harm intactivists make.

            And then they quote the anti-circumcision countries in Europe…. No surprise that they are anti-circumcision, then! And yet… even THEY don’t make the ridiculous claims of harm the Intactivists throw around as fact!
            Their opposition is on ethical grounds – that it is unnecessary and therefore unwarranted.

            My position is very much in line with the position of the BMA in that parents should be free to make the decision they feel is in their child’s best interests without bullying, lies and exaggerations from Intactivists.

          • ml66uk

            “a one sided, biased and exaggerated account designed to deceive!”

            Really?

            The CPS don’t actually oppose neonatal male circumcision, but, like I said, they do say this:
            “Recommendation: Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”

            In Australia, “routine” male circumcision is actually *banned* in public hospitals in all states except one.

            The Dutch and Germans deal with a lot more intact males than the Americans, yet they do actually oppose infant male circumcision:

            The Royal Dutch Medical Association
            “The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity.”

            German Pediatric Association
            “Therefore it is not understandable that circumcision of boys should be allowed but that of girls prohibited worldwide. Male circumcision is basically comparable with FGM types Ia and Ib that the Schafi Islamic school of law supports”

            You missed out the part where the BMA says “As a general rule, …”, and the long section where they discuss whether infant male circumcision is even legal under UK law or not:

            The lawfulness of the procedure is challenged by some, however, and in the mid 1990s the English Law Commission said that although in its view ritual circumcision is lawful, law reform to “put the lawfulness of ritual male circumcision beyond any doubt” would be useful.9 This, however, has not been forthcoming.

            These legal cases were heard before the implementation of the Human Rights Act which, in 2000, incorporated Articles of the European Convention on Human Rights10 into UK law. Doctors must consider whether their decisions impact on a person’s human rights and, if so, whether the interference can be justified. Rights that might be relevant to non-therapeutic circumcision include:

            Article 3: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

            Article 5(1): “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of the person.”

            Article 8: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life” except for the “protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

            Article 9(1): “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

            Article 9(2): “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

            How about the “recent evidence” where two studies showed strong correlations between infant male circumcision and autism/ASD (Bauer/Kriebel 2013, and Frisch/Simsonsen 2015)?

  • EuropeanMan

    I am not an expert in this area but I can give my 2 cents. A lot of diseases have a genetic and an environmental component. For example, cancer or type 2 diabetes have environmental components. You try to minimize the environmental factor as much as possible.

    Besides, this study does not show a link between circumcision and autism. It points out to a correlation. This is interesting and needs to be further investigated.

    • Bilbo Baggins

      Interesting how you consider a small correlation between circumcision and autism is significant but not an equal correlation between organic food and circumcision. Or mobile phone use and autism. Or any other of a long list of things that have increased in recent years along with autism.

      And ignore the massive rise in autism in recent years in the US when there has been a slight decline in the circumcision rate.

      Interesting, but not surprising given your prejudicial views on circumcision.

      • ml66uk

        It’s not “a *small* correlation” though:

        Bauer, Kriebel, 2013
        “For studies including boys born after 1995, there was a strong correlation between country-level (n = 9) autism/ASD prevalence in males and a country’s circumcision rate (r = 0.98). A very similar pattern was seen among U.S. states and when comparing the 3 main racial/ethnic groups in the U.S.”

        Frisch, Simonsen, 2015
        “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 = 1.46; 95% CI: 1.11–1.93). Risk was particularly high for infantile autism before age five years (HR = 2.06; 95% CI: 1.36–3.13).”

        “And ignore the massive rise in autism in recent years in the US when there has been a slight decline in the circumcision rate.”
        Whether or not there has been a rise in autism diagnosis overall is a very different issue to whether or not circumcision rates correlate with rates of autism diagnosis (Bauer, Kriebel), or whether or not circumcised boys are more likely to be diagnosed with autism (Frisch, Simonsen).

        Lung cancer rates have been increasing while smoking has been decreasing, but that doesn’t mean that smoking doesn’t increase the risk of lung cancer.

        • Bilbo Baggins

          Yes, the correlation IS small. The Denmark study included 340,000 Danish boys… only 3% of which were circumcised. What this means is that if you randomly took any 3% group from the “pool” of boys you are very unlikely to find they include an average number of autistic boys: some groups will have none, some far more. This is why opinion polls select their subjects so carefully: a small random sample cannot be considered representative.
          (The second study you mention concluded there was a correlation between paracetamol and autism!)

          To be fair to the study, they acknowledge this and go no further than highlighting a correlation and floating a possible mechanism.

          However the evidence for this correlation representing cause and effect is very weak indeed. The possible mechanism suggested (trauma early in life) simply doesn’t match with the evidence. There is no evidence that children who undergo other, far more significant surgery, and children who have accidents (most young children suffer painful accidents at some point) have increased risk of autism.

          You dismiss the evidence that autism rates are increasing significantly while circumcision rates have declined… and there is some merit to your argument.. Or at least there would be if that was as far as it went. But the fact is that the percentage of children diagnosed with autism in Denmark is similar to the percentage in the USA despite the massive difference in the number of circumcised boys.

          Israel has a similar rate too (actually 50% less) despite a lot of study being undertaken into autism in Israel.

          And the rate is similar in the UK. And Australia.

          The fact is that all this cannot be explained by differences in diagnosis. If there were any truth in the correlation, Denmark, with 3% circumcision, would have a markedly lower rate of Autism compared to the US and Israel, too great to be disguised by better or worse levels of diagnosis.

          This evidence is also, of course, correlation evidence – however it quite clearly backs up my assertion that the correlation found in these studies is small and insignificant and no better than the correlation between eating organic food and autism.

          And THAT is why this study is dismissed as irrelevant by all reputable medical bodies..

          • ml66uk

            I’m not sure how good your understanding is of hazard ratios and confidence intervals, but there’s no way the results of either of those studies can be described as small correlations. The second study found that “regardless of cultural background”, males were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with autism by the age of five (HR = 2.06; 95% CI: 1.36–3.13), and 46% more likely to be diagnosed by the age of ten (HR = 1.46; 95% CI: 1.11–1.93). (earlier diagnosis usually means more severe symptoms). The first study used infant male circumcision as a proxy for exposure to paracetamol, but what they actually found was a strong correlation between infant male circumcision and autism/ASD across nine countries and between the US states.

            “A strong correlation (r = 0.98) was found in the country-level data between circumcision and autism spectrum disorder prevalence rates for boys born after 1995 (when circumcision guidelines began recommending analgesics). The slope of this trend for the 9 countries with available data indicates that a change of 10% in the population circumcision rate was associated with an increase in autism/ASD prevalence of 2.01/1000 persons (95% CI: 1.68 to 2.34)”

            It would be very informative if we could get the parents of the next five thousand pairs of identical twin boys to circumcise one but not the other, but that’s simply not going to happen.

            “(The autism rate in the US should be 20 times higher than Denmark, not roughly equal as it is.)”
            It’s difficult to compare autism rates between countries anyway, but what you’re saying would only be true if male circumcision were the only cause of autism. That’s clearly not the case, since there are females and intact male with autism.

            For what it’s worth, my view is that there’s most definitely more research needed to see if similar results are seen elsewhere, but it seems highly likely that males circumcised as infants are more likely to be diagnosed as autistic later in life, and ante-natal/neo-natal exposure to paracetamol seems a far more likely mechanism than neonatal trauma, since Bauer/Kriebel showed such different results before and after 1995. This is very concerning: “Across all country-level studies prior to the widespread use of paracetamol for circumcision (all born prior to 1995), the weighted average autism/ASD male to female prevalence ratio was 3.9 to 1. For the post 1995 cohort, this ratio increased to 5.6 to 1.”

            If the same results are found elsewhere, then it seems highly likely that a number of cases of autism could be prevented simply by not circumcising, or possibly doing it later in life, or by using general anesthetic during the operation or different pain relief for post-operative pain.

            As far as I’m aware, neither this study nor the Bauer Kriebel study has been dismissed as irrelevant by any reputable medical body, and nor should they be.

          • Bilbo Baggins

            (double post)

        • Bilbo Baggins

          PS: Lung cancer rates have increased because of PAST smoking – lung can occur decades after the subject has stopped smoking. We will see a decrease in future decades I’m sure.

  • Megan

    Now we have an “astrobiologist” wading into the “what causes autism” debate? And…he’s a physician? Do you see a lot of aliens in your practice? Who cites a bloggers opinion about where are all the autistic children of dentists? That make that fact? I know dentists with autistic children. Again, they are linking this more and more to parent’s with higher IQ, which, given the schooling requirement for dentists, would put them in the “susceptible to autism” category. I think, and again that’s THINK, we need to look at genetic mutations that make children more susceptible to things like mercury. Personalized medicine. Not EVERYBODY should be getting vaccinated. My little boy has the C677T mutation. He’s also allergic to mercury. Isn’t everyone allergic to mercury? I guess not. I trust chiropractors more than MDs. I have MS and have been told to not go near a flu shot. You also have sets of twins where one is fine and the other has autism. Explain that to me. Not impressed. Very poorly researched. Yet another article that says, “Look at me. I have all these degrees. You should just believe me.” In summary, my last and final word is cholesterol. That is the most recent example of You GUYS were wrong!!!

  • Wrong on several points about circumcision.
    * The Danish study is not “hokum” but careful research that reaches a tentative conclusion with all the caveats a good study should have.
    * Your “policy statement” was actually made by Dr Douglas Diekema (an “ethicist” responsible for the AAP’s shortlived policy in support of token female genital cutting in April-May 2010) .
    * The decision to cut boy babies’ genitals has not “always” been left to the parents. It was only a religious practice until the late 19th century. Doctors started doing it (probably without asking; they were little tin gods in those days) to “cure” a mad variety of ailments, many “caused by masturbation”.That is how it became customary. It was only in 1972 that informed consent became required by law, but parents might be browbeaten, lied to or simply ignored thereafter: http://www.circumstitions.com/coerce.html . And only in the USA. The rest of the English-speaking world also tried it but gave it up, the rest of the developed world has never done it. Any decision is left to the owner, when he is an adult, and very very few will have a bar ot it.

  • EuropeanMan

    There is a crucial difference between circumcision and vaccinations.

    Vaccinations inject a liquid into your body. With today’s vaccination methods, there will be no lasting physical mark. You will not know that you are vaccinated against something specifically unless there is either a record or you do an antigen test. The benefit of vaccinations is immunity against a possibly devastating disease. Are there risks to common vaccinations? Maybe, but I am willing to take those risks in light that those risks are very rare and that the benefits can be appreciated and that it does not alter the function of the body other than making you stronger against a particular virus.

    Circumcision leaves a visible scar on your genitals and removes tissue. If circumcised as an infant, you will eventually know that you were circumcised even if nobody tells you. It alters the way you see yourself and you use your sexual organs. Does circumcision make you immune against a disease that you could have prevented through other means without loss of tissue? No. All “benefits” of circumcision are disputed and other means work better. Does circumcision alter the function of the body? Yes, it removes erogenous tissue. What other risks are there to circumcision? Meatal stenosis, infection of the circumcision wound, excessive bleeding, etc. etc. (and these are only the short term risks). Clearly, the “benefits” of circumcision, if they really exist, do not outweigh the risks and complications (including the long term ones).

    The Danish study claiming a correlation between ASD and circumcision is yet another piece of information for parents why they should not choose circumcision.

  • Bilbo Baggins

    Well, look at that. All the same anti-circumcision fanatics are descending like flies. Hello there, EuropeanMan! Is there ANY site even vaguely connected with circumcision that you haven’t posted on? You are starting to look just a little bit obsessed with the foreskin.

    • MMC23

      I’m guessing you don’t have a foreskin. If you did you’d be obsessed with it too. It feels amazing.

      • Bilbo Baggins

        How refreshingly honest of you to admit to having a foreskin fetish. I had a foreskin until I lost a fight with a particularly vicious zipper at age 29 so have experienced both. There is, quite frankly, little difference. Orgasms are just as intense and if the head has lost any sensitivity, it is too small to detect and more than made up by the additional stimulation the head, and particularly the underside of the head, gets from being exposed to stimulation throughout intercourse rather than just when it pokes out from the foreskin.

        Enjoy your foreskin fetish, I don’t begrudge you that. Just stop trying to impose your fetish on parents who are acting in what they believe to be the best interests of their child.

        • ml66uk

          You don’t need to have a fetish to be against genital cutting. I’m against female genital cutting too, but that doesn’t mean I have a “fetish” about intact female genitals.

          I’ve never heard of anyone having to be circumcised because of a zipper accident, and it seems very unlikely at age 29.

          If you’re happy to be circumcised, that’s great, but many men circumcised as adults report that it makes things a lot worse. You’re a sample size of one, but so is Nick Kusturis (see “circumcised at 18” by Bonobo3D on YouTube), who every much regrets being circumcised.

          Kim and Pang 2006 studied 255 men circumcised as adults and found that:
          “About 6% answered that their sex lives improved, while 20% reported a worse sex life after circumcision.”

          I think many (most?) intact men have the glans fully exposed when they’re erect btw, without surgery.

          What’s wrong with letting everyone decide for themselves whether or not they have irreversible genital surgery? It’s not like it can’t wait. The USA (at 55% and dropping) and Israel are the only two countries in the world where more than half of baby boys are circumcised. Other countries circumcise, but not till anywhere from the age of seven to adolescence. Only about 10% of the world’s circumcised men were circumcised as babies. 70% of the world’s men (88% of the world’s non-Muslim men) never get circumcised.

  • Nathan

    There has been very little research into circumcision and how it may be connected to autism. The most that anyone could honestly say is that more research is required in order to confirm if there is a connection or not. So to state there is no connection is foolish.

  • Max

    The debate is interesting, but imho it’s all about the money.
    The practice of Circumcision has been a lucrative business for a hundred years, but it’s really just “snake skin oil” disguised as science, and it’s a waste of money at best.

  • Alexandrea

    NOT sure if it is Hokum. My pediatrician ( who is very knowledgeable and well educated), says there could possibly be a huge connection between the trauma of circumcision and autism. It makes sense, and the USA has more autism than other countries by far. Autism is almost unheard of in some countries in Europe, when this surgery is never performed. We do know circumcision is unnecessary and very painful, that we do know is not “Hokum”, and the absolute truth,

  • Double_Up

    There have been genetic studies on autism for years. The results? No genetic causes of autism. None. Every single study. Identical twin studies, family studies have found zip, nada. Epigenetics maybe, but that’s environmental. But geneticists keep getting money. Can we give money to people who want to prove smoking isn’t harmful?

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