Posts Tagged ‘ circumcision ’

U.S. Hospital Circumcision Rates Falling

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A report by the National Center for Health Statistics reveals that circumcisions of newborn boys in U.S. hospitals have dropped 6 percentage points over the last 30 years, from 64.5 percent in 1979 to 58.3 percent in 2010. The sharpest declines took place in Western states, Reuters reports. The federal analysis shows that circumcision rates have risen and fallen over the years, possibly in response to changing advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Last year the academy revised its policy on circumcision, saying that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks.

The analysis didn’t include circumcisions performed outside the hospital in religious ceremonies, for example, or those performed when a boy is older.

Here are further details from USA Today:

One factor that may account for the overall decline in hospital-based circumcisions may be the decreased time babies now spend in the hospital, says pediatrician Douglas Diekema of the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

“Often they’re going home within 24 hours, so in some places, these procedures are increasingly being done by the pediatrician during the follow-up period in the doctor’s office or clinic as opposed to the hospital,” Diekema says.

The steep decline in the West may be related to higher rates of immigrants from countries where circumcision is less common, he says.

Recent research suggests circumcision does “help prevent certain kinds of infections,” says pediatrics group president Thomas McInerny. In particular, “there is some evidence that the cells that make up the inner surface of the foreskin may provide an optimal target for the HIV virus.” Research also shows that circumcised males have a lower risk of urinary tract infections and penile cancer, he says.

Complications associated with circumcisions are rare, and include minor bleeding, local infection and pain, says Diekema, but those factors can be easily treated.

A cost study reported last year in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine said falling infant circumcision rates in the U.S. could end up costing the country billions of health care dollars when men and their female partners develop AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections and cancers that could have been prevented.

The health benefits evidence was not so strong that the AAP felt compelled to recommend routine circumcision for all newborn boys, says McInerny. “We wanted to give parents the information as we understand it from the research and let them make the decision.”

 

Image: Newborn boy, via Shutterstock

 

 

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Could Circumcision Lower the Risk of HIV Infection?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

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

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A News Round-Up, and a Thank You

Monday, September 10th, 2012

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

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Pediatricians Say Benefits of Circumcision Outweigh Risks

Monday, August 27th, 2012

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.

But the academy stopped short of recommending circumcision for all baby boys, saying it’s up to parents to decide, the Associated Press reports.

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.

Meantime, a recent study projected that declining U.S. circumcision rates could add more than $4 billion in health care costs in coming years because of increased illness and infections.

Image: Newborn baby boy via Shutterstock.

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Lower Circumcision Rates Could Mean Increased Health Care Costs

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

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

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