Search results for “ circumcision ”
Circumcision may lower the risk of a boy becoming infected with HIV because of changes in bacteria that live around the circumcision site on the penis, a new study published in the journal mBio has found. The new finding builds on previous research that had associated circumcision with lower HIV, but had not identified a major cause for the association. More on the new study from CNN.com:
Relying on the latest technology that make sequencing the genes of organisms faster and more accessible, Lance Price of the Translational Genomics Research institute (TGen) and his colleagues conducted a detailed genetic analysis of the microbial inhabitants of the penis among a group of Ugandan men who provided samples before circumcision and again a year later.
While the men showed similar communities of microbes before the operation, 12 months later, the circumcised men harbored dramatically fewer bacteria that survive in low oxygen conditions. They also had 81% less bacteria overall compared to the uncircumcised men, and that could have a dramatic effect on the men’s ability to fight off infections like HIV, says Price.
Previous studies showed that circumcised men lowered their risk of transmitting HIV by as much as 50%, making the operation an important tool in preventing infection with the virus.
Why? A high burden of bacteria could disrupt the ability of specialized immune cells known as Langerhans cells to activate immune defenses.
Image: Newborn boy, via Shutterstock
First and foremost, big thanks to Erin O’Donnell for the terrific job she did guest-blogging while I was in blissful away-land these past 2 weeks. I enjoyed visiting PNN as a reader, and I certainly learned a lot from what I read.
It was an eventful two weeks in the world of parenting news. Stories ranged from the controversial new recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics concerning circumcision to the births of celebrity babies toreality TV stars Snooki and Giuliana and Bill Rancic.
We were alerted to new warnings as well, including the dangers of colored laundry detergent gel-packs and the deceptiveness of products that claim to teach babies to read.
Perhaps the most interesting and intriguing story, though, was about the parents of twin newborns who were making their first airplane flight with babes in tow. The parents passed out candy to all the other passengers on the plane, apologizing in advance for any crying or disruption their babies might cause, and offered earplugs to anyone who was bothered. The debate that ensued was fascinating!
So again, thank you Erin for such smart coverage of such a wide spectrum of parenting news stories.
Oh, and thank YOU, readers, for taking the Parents News Now Facebook page to a thrilling milestone – we’ve surpassed the 1,000-follower mark! If you don’t follow us yet, “like” PNN on Facebook by clicking here.
Image: Thank you note, via Shutterstock
The American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its policy on circumcision, saying the benefits of the procedure mean parents should get access to it, and insurance companies should pay for it.
The new policy follows recent studies showing that circumcision reduces chances of infection with HIV and other sexually spread diseases, urinary tract infections and penis cancer.
Insurance coverage of circumcision varies, and Medicaid won’t pay for it in some states. Rates of circumcision in the United States have dropped in recent years, although about half of all U.S. baby boys still undergo the procedure. From the AP:
[The new policy] comes amid ongoing debate over whether circumcision is medically necessary or a cosmetic procedure that critics say amounts to genital mutilation. Activists favoring a circumcision ban made headway in putting it to a vote last year in San Francisco but a judge later knocked the measure off the city ballot, ruling that regulating medical procedures is up to the state, not city officials.
In Germany, Jewish and Muslim leaders have protested a regional court ruling in June that said circumcision amounts to bodily harm.
Image: Newborn baby boy via Shutterstock.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have been studying the ongoing decline in the number baby boys who are circumcised, concluding that the drop could mean increased health care costs, to the tune of billions of dollars. The study comes as a growing number of states’ Medicaid insurance programs are cutting coverage for the procedure. Time Magazine reports:
Studies link circumcision with numerous health benefits: the procedure is associated with lower risks of urinary tract infections in babies and young boys, and reductions in men’s risk of contracting HIV, genital herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV); it may also help reduce the odds of penile and prostate cancers. By reducing the burden of sexually transmitted infections among men, it may also help keep more women infection-free as well.
If circumcision rates were to drop from the current 55% to 10%, urinary tract infections in baby boys may rise a whopping 212%, and in men, HIV infections could increase by 12%, HPV infections by 29% and herpes simplex virus type 2 by 20%. In women, dropping rates of male circumcision could increase cases of bacterial vaginosis by 18% and low-risk HPV by 13%.
As gaps in insurance coverage increasingly lead parents to opt out of circumcision, the researchers say a drop to 10% is not unlikely — that’s in line with circumcision rates in Europe, where the procedure is typically not covered by insurance. Medicaid programs in many states have eliminated coverage of the procedure: currently, 18 states no longer pay for it, with South Carolina and Colorado most recently ending coverage last year. According to the study authors, the rate of circumcision rates had remained steady at about 79% between 1970 and ’80, but fell to 63% in 1999 and then dropped again to 55% in 2010.
Image: Newborn boy, via Shutterstock
In a move that one rabbi called “fatal to the freedom of religion,” a German court has ruled that boys cannot be circumcised because the practice inflicts bodily harm on children who are not able to give their own consent for the procedure. The Guardian newspaper has more:
A judge at a Cologne court said that the circumcision of minors went against a child’s interests because it led to a physical alteration of the body, and because people other than the child were determining its religious affiliation.
Religious leaders said the court had stepped into a minefield with its decision, which undermined their religious authority and contravened Germany’s constitution.
Ali Demir, chairman of the Religious Community of Islam in Germany, said: “I find the ruling adversarial to the cause of integration and discriminatory against all the parties concerned.”
Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, called it “an egregious and insensitive measure” which amounted to “an unprecedented and dramatic intervention in religious communities’ right of determination.”
The ruling followed a lengthy legal battle, sparked when a Muslim couple decided to have their son circumcised, specifically for religious reasons, by a Muslim doctor in Cologne. The doctor, identified only as Dr K, carried out the circumcision on the four-year old boy in November 2010, before giving the wound four stitches. The same evening, he visited the family at home to check up on the boy. When the boy began bleeding again two days later, his parents took him to the casualty department of Cologne’s University hospital. The hospital contacted the police, who then launched an investigation. The doctor was charged with bodily harm, and the case was taken to court.
While the court acquitted Dr. K on the grounds that he had not broken any law, it concluded that circumcision of minors for religious reasons should be outlawed, and that neither parental consent nor religious freedom justified the procedure. It ruled that in future doctors who carried out circumcisions should be punished.
The court weighed up three articles from the basic law: the rights of parents, the freedom of religious practice and the right of the child to physical integrity, before coming to the conclusion that the procedure was not in the interests of the child.
It rejected the defence that circumcision is considered hygienic in many cultures, one of the main reasons it is carried out in the US, Britain and in Germany.
After much deliberation, it concluded that a circumcision, “even when done properly by a doctor with the permission of the parents, should be considered as bodily harm if it is carried out on a boy unable to give his own consent.”
Image: The German flag, via Shutterstock.