Posted by MoonPye on Tuesday, April 5, 2011
In 2007 I did an undergraduate research project correlating geographical incidence of three male-prevalent neurological disorders, ADHD, ASD, and Alzheimer's, with geographical prevalence of neonatal circumcision in the U.S. It's obviously been about four years since I did this investigation, and I still have my papers--but they are filed under a heap of boxes as I've moved several times since then.
The procedure I used was to access the neonatal circumcision rates for 26 states that participated in the 1995-2005 CDC/NHDS/HCUP surveys, and rank them in order of neonatal circumcision frequency as a percentage of population, 1 to 26. (The midwestern states like Michigan and West Virginia had the highest rates, and the western states like Oregon, California, and Nevada had the lowest rates.) I also found data for these 26 states regarding incidence of the three neurological disorders. I broke the 26 states into two groups, 13 highest circumcision rates, and the 13 lowest circumcision rates and computed averages for each disorder for both the high and low circumcision-rate groups.
Once I had the disorder averages for each group, I divided the high circ group disorder percentage by the low circ disorder percentage to get a ratio, high to low.
What provoked my study was the blog or posting of an anti-circ nurse who stated that she thought there might be a correlation between autism and neonatal circumcision (as autism is highly male-prevalent). Her thoughts actually got me thinking about circumcision and male-prevalent neurological disorders like autism and ADHD. I did find that there was a fairly significant correlation between neonatal circumcision and autism, as the ratio I found was about 1.10.
I hope you can see that if the disorder incidence was the same in both the high-circ and the low-circ groups, the ratio should be exactly 1.00. The 1.10 ratio for autism spectrum disorder was highly correlative. But the ratio for ADHD, nearly 1.50 was far more convincing and alarming. This finding still gives me chills.
The high-rate circumcision states were reporting roughly three ADHD diagnoses (on a population-percentage basis) for every two diagnoses (on a population-percentage basis) in the low circ-rate states. These results hit me like dynamite, and I felt (and still feel) that these results demonstrate that neonatal circumcision is profoundly traumatic and detrimental to the neurological health of males--and probably a significant contributing factor, not only to ADHD, but probably also to additional neurological disorders like tourettes as well. [For a long time, many people thought tourettes was a gene-specific disease common mainly among Ashkenazi Jews until tourettes began turning up massively in other circumcising, non Ashkenazi cultures (namely the U.S. general population). My results indicate at least the possibility that tourettes actually has more to do with a traumatic circumcision technique that slices away the prepuce to the base of the glans than with a genetic disorder.]
By the way, I found a very slightly negative correlation with Alzheimer's, a ratio of about 0.98, meaning that Alzheimer's and neonatal circumcision had almost no correlation.
The results of my undergraduate research project (URP) were minimized by some of the professors who attended my presentation, as they stated that correlation is not the same as causation. My results were also criticized because I didn't analyze for statistical significance.
My reflection is that where there is smoke there is often fire. A more exhaustive study, involving specific, longitudinal case histories (several pairs of identical twins, one circumcised, one not, for example), might convince people that there is direct causation. In my perhaps prejudiced opinion, the correlations that I obtained were scientific, objective, and highly indicative of a direct link between neonatal circumcision and ADHD, probably also with ASD but not in the same dramatic fashion.
(Please feel free to publish the above report at your website, or launch your own investigation based on my approach.)
Addendum from John to this post:
I'm afraid I come out looking a little like a Mengele when I suggested that longitudinal studies on identical twins might confirm causality. Although the theory in my suggestion is almost certainly correct, it would be absolutely unethical to conduct such an experiment on people (a point I failed to mention in my submission). I suppose such tests might be conducted on animals like mice or rabbit litters, but even this idea seems inhumanely cruel to me. I would far rather kill an animal outright than mutilate it sexually.