New Study Links Circumcision to Autism

A new study has proved incredibly controversial because it links an already contentious topic -- circumcision -- to autism. A group of Danish researchers recently released a study in which they claim baby boys who are circumcised are 50 percent more likely to develop autism before they are 10 than non-circumcised boys.


Denmark's Statens Serum Institut conducted a 9-year study involving 342,877 Danish boys who were born between 1994 and 2003. Researchers say they learned that the risks of developing infantile autism, which generally affects children under the age of 5, doubled when the boys were circumcised.

It isn't known exactly what effect circumcision has on a child that would result in the development of autism, but one theory is that the pain and trauma caused by the procedure at such a young age could link it to the neurodevelopmental disorder.

Morten Frisch, a senior investigator at SSI, explained that it is already known that there is an increased risk of autism in babies who are born in "a rough way and begin their lives in the intensive wards" and says it could be possible that the extreme pain felt during circumcision contributes to autism later in life.

More from The Stir: To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise: What You Need to Know

But some health experts, including Professor David Katz, chairman of Milah UK, which aims to protect the Jewish community's right to circumcise, warns that the report should not be taken as gospel just yet.

"Correlation does not equal causation," Katz said. He noted that there have long been attempts to link autism to other factors, including measles, mumps, and rubella, and that nothing has been proven yet.

Does this study influence how you feel about circumcision?


Image via amrufm/Flickr

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