Circumcision increases autism risk

Discuss autism theories, media stories, and efforts to put ASD on the government agenda here.

Moderator: ModeratorBill

Forum rules
Please limit quotes from articles to five paragraphs. Also, researchers may post study information here.
Posts: 2075
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:37 pm

Circumcision increases autism risk

Postby kulkulkan » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:18 pm

This is making headlines everywhere - yet another correlation study. I don't doubt the correlation finding, but I think the main confounder here (not sure if that was studied or not here) and biological plausible is Tylenol given for pain relief (which is already correlated to ADHD in similar large scale studies). ... 093725.htm
Ritual circumcision linked to increased risk of autism in young boys, research suggests
January 9, 2015

Research published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggests that circumcised boys are more likely than intact boys to develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) before the age of 10. Risk is particularly high for infantile autism before the age of five. The research was carried out in Denmark among a cohort of all children born between 1994 and 2003. During the study over 340,000 boys were followed up to the age of nine between 1994 and 2013 and almost 5,000 cases of ASD were diagnosed. The study showed that regardless of cultural background circumcised boys may run a greater risk of developing ASD. The researchers also made an unexpected observation of an increased risk of hyperactivity disorder among circumcised boys in non-Muslim families.

Here is a hypothesis finding similar correlation on weaker ecological data but implicating Acetaminophen instead of the big pain event. Since circumcision has been going on for centuries and overall declining, Acetaminophen makes a lot more sense and more biological plausible than the pain event.

Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:33 am

Re: Circumcision increases autism risk

Postby Santosg » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:04 am

Thanks for posting the study. I'm not at all surprised by the finding. Autism is a neurological condition, and all substances that seek to blunt or disrupt nerve signalling will no doubt have some effect--and at times, a rather devastating one.

This can be said even more strongly about general anesthesia. Unless there is something absolutely critical about putting a child under sedation, I think it should be avoided at all cost. The irony is, of course, that it is children who have the most vulnerability to the negative consequences of such procedures are the ones that are the most lightly to get them. Now, in the case of something like brain injuries or debilitating seizures, it might be neccessary to rely on more than the MRI. It is always a tough decision.

I had the pediatric neurologist insisting that I have my son get an MRI under sedation. I read up on all the emerging literature that links it to a host of learning difficulties in later life. It really disrupts the electrical impulses in the brain. Sedation is not the equivalent of sleeping. It reduces brain electrical activity in a very marked way and in many ways it just never really fully recovers.

I think one of the fundamental misconceptions of modern neurology is the 'chemical paradigm.' The brain is composed of a combination of chemical and electrical properties. That said, I argue that the electrical component of the brain predominates and conditions is chemical properties. So, there are actually more meaningful ways to intervene with children with ASD. That's why behavioral approach work: give the brain a specific and regular stimulus and you alter, fundamentally, the way that it is organized. The biomedical dimension of these are also very rich, with neurofeedback being the most obvious but perhaps not the most effective example.

Return to “Autism Articles, Studies & Politics”