Circumcision and autism could be linked, new findings suggest. Boys who are circumcised before the age of five are more likely to develop autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new 10-year study. It's possible the controversial medical procedure could be linked with ADHD as well, Business 2 Community reports from a study conducted at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen. The research is published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
Professor Morten Frisch led the research project, which studied boys born in Denmark from 1994 to 2003.
"Our investigation was prompted by the combination of recent animal findings linking a single painful injury to lifelong deficits in stress response and a study showing a strong, positive correlation between a country's neonatal male circumcision rate and its prevalence of ASD in boys."It's believed that boys who are circumcised are likely to experience pain so severe from the procedure, that the stress from it impacts their development. Researchers in Copenhagen studied more than 340,000 boys in Denmark and discovered autism was more likely to develop by 46 percent if the boy was circumcised. The risk doubled if the circumcision was done before the boy was age five.
Frisch says that in spite of doctors using pain relievers in an effort to reduce great discomfort, it doesn't "completely eliminate" the pain.
"Today it is considered unacceptable practice to circumcise boys without proper pain relief. But none of the most common interventions used to reduce circumcision pain completely eliminates it and some boys will endure strongly painful circumcisions."The study concludes that painful experiences in both humans and animals have proven to have "long-term effect when it comes to pain perception;" a characteristic widely seen in children with ASD, declare scientists in this research project.
Of course, several scientific colleagues already disagree with the study. According to Britain's Jewish News, Professor David Katz of Immunopathology at University College London and Chairman Milah UK opposes what Frisch's team came up with regarding circumcised boys being at a higher risk for autism and ADHD.
"... Correlation does not equal causation. [There has been a] long history of attempts to link Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to unrelated practices… which proved to be fraudulent."Katz calls the report "far from convincing." He argues that environmental toxins, genetics from those of faith communities, and abnormal brain structures/functions as possible facts "which do not appear to have been explored."
[Photo Credit: Children's Wishing Well]