Circumcision, Pain, and the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders

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A new study has been published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine reporting a higher risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in boys who have undergone infant circumcision[1].  Not just some small increased risk either, but a risk in the range of approximately 80%.  What prompted this research?  How good is the research?  What take-home messages are there? The … [Read more...]

CHHRP Responds to CDC Circumcision Report

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Recently the CDC released a report claiming that the health benefits of male infant circumcision outweighed the risks of the procedure.  Interestingly, the tone focused on getting insurance to cover the procedure (there's a strong positive correlation between rates of infant male circumcision and it being covered by insurance), suggestive of a financially-motivated review.  As … [Read more...]

Circumcision: You Do What You Know (Video)

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I've written on the cultural element of routine infant circumcision (RIC) before and it's something that we have to revisit over and over and over again if we're going to see change.  One of the things that people often forget is that cultural biases are incredibly powerful in the way we process information and accept (or reject) arbitrary or even harmful behaviours.  In … [Read more...]

Male circumcision like vaccination? Um… no.

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 “Male circumcision is in principle equivalent to childhood vaccination” ~ Dr. Brian Morris, New York Times Blog A new “review” of the medical issues surrounding circumcision, conducted by Dr. Brian Morris of the University of Sydney (who is rather circumspect given he is probably the world’s largest proponent of male circumcision, including having shared links to … [Read more...]

Video: Do You Know Why You’re Circumcised?

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It's amazing the myths that abound about circumcision.  From the idea that it's "cleaner" to the notion that it reduces the risk of "HIV" (which this clip ignores is a wholly African thing with methodological flaws and has not been studied in or is possibly relevant for North America and ignores the fact that European countries with almost no circumcision have lower rates of … [Read more...]

The Human Rights and Parent Issue of Circumcision

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Today is Blog Action day and the topic is Human Rights.  It seems the perfect day to announce on EP that I have taken up a new role: I am now a member of the Advisory Board for the Children’s Health and Human Rights Partnership.  What is this?  It’s a Canadian group of doctors, midwives, nurses, policy writers, IT professionals, and, well, me who agree to work to uphold the … [Read more...]

Why You Should Care About Circumcision

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This piece was originally published in the Spring 2013, Issue 06 of Nurture Magazine and the original (in pdf) can be seen here. By Tracy G. Cassels I used to be one of those people who thought that routine infant circumcision was a personal decision.  And by personal, I mean parental.  Yeah, I personally would never do it because there was just no point to it in my mind.  … [Read more...]

Circumcision and STIs: Should We Care?

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"If you are ever presented with a multifaceted social problem and the first solution that springs to your mind is "We'd better cut off part of everyone's penis," you might want to consider another line of work." Fatherhood For Geeks I received a comment today on my circumcision series questioning whether I had fully considered the role of circumcision in reducing STIs … [Read more...]

My Pet Peeves: Inflated Statistics


I’m a science geek.  It comes with getting a PhD.  But I also happen to have received a minor in Psychometrics during my graduate studies because I love statistics.  I know, some of you working with stats will think I’m absolutely bonkers, but I can’t help it.  I could honestly spend hours a day sitting and doing stats, and before my daughter, I did.  It’s why I’m as honest as … [Read more...]

Circumcision, Science, and Religion: Part 4

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By Tracy G. Cassels Adult versus Child or Neonate Circumcision One of the factors that routinely comes up in questions surrounding neonate circumcision is the idea that the pain and healing associated with adult or even child circumcision are far greater, thus if one is to circumcise, infancy is the period of time in which to do it.  The problem with this view is that it … [Read more...]