It's a lonely battle to fight against circumcision. You're fighting against rarely challenged "tradition", religious beliefs and, sometimes, intentionally deceitful releases from the CDC.
Anyway, some doctors and health practitioners decided to study the effects of circumcision on a boy's brain. At peaceful parenting, Dr. Momma posts the results as told by Dr. Paul D. Tinari, Ph.D. Here's what he has to say (warning, the post has graphic images of circumcision):
As a graduate student working in the Dept. of Epidemiology, I was approached by a group of nurses who were attempting to organize a protest against male infant circumcision in Kinston General Hospital. They said that their observations indicated that babies undergoing the procedure were subjected to significant and inhumane levels of pain that subsequently adversely affected their behaviours. They said that they needed some scientific support for their position. It was my idea to use fMRI and/or PET scanning to directly observe the effects of circumcision on the infant brain.
A neurologist who saw the results to postulated that the data indicated that circumcision affected most intensely the portions of the victim's brain associated with reasoning, perception and emotions. Follow up tests on the infant one day, one week and one month after the surgery indicated that the child's brain never returned to its baseline configuration. In other words, the evidence generated by this research indicated that the brain of the circumcised infant was permanently changed by the surgery.Okay, there is a fairly significant problem with their study; they only have one subject. One set of MRI results does not data make. Nonetheless, this does not excuse the behaviour of the hospital administration as they try to suppress this information. If anything, the findings demand publication, if only to invite refutation.
Our problems began when we attempted to publish our findings in the open medical literature. All of the participants in the research including myself were called before the hospital discipline committee and were severely reprimanded. We were told that while male circumcision was legal under all circumstances in Canada, any attempt to study the adverse effects of circumcision was strictly prohibited by the ethical regulations. Not only could we not publish the results of our research, but we also had to destroy all of our results. If we refused to comply, we were all threatened with immediate dismissal and legal action.
I would encourage anyone with access to fMRI and /or PET scanning machines to repeat our research as described above, confirm our results, and then publish the results in the open literature.
But we will have none of that.
In general, people do not seem to want to have circumcision challenged. They don't want to know that their religious practice damages infants; men who have been circumcised do not want to think that there is anything "wrong" with their members; and no one wants to think that they are inflicting pain and permanent (or just temporary) damage on their children for frivolous or misguided reasons.
Nonetheless, doctors are scientists, or they are supposed to be. The unseemliness of a topic or the potentially horrifying revelations are no reason to reject knowledge and blindly accept (and advocate) a procedure that physically alters (read: mutilates) otherwise healthy and helpless infants.
This is a topic that needs to be explored. We need to know what we are doing to these boys. We already know that circumcision offers no health benefits to the average North American male, now we need to learn the ramifications of this cosmetic procedure.
Or we could just stop routinely and mindlessly mutilating little boys.