(JTA) – An English-born geneticist from the United Kingdom published a study claiming that circumcision of boys increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, but a prominent Dutch pediatrician dismisses his findings as "nonsense."
The study, published last month by Eran Elhaik of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, found that the global endurance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and the non-medical circumcision of very young boys correlated "strongly and significantly" are.
An increase of 10 percent in the prevalence of such circumcision "is associated with an increase of 0.1
Anglophone countries practice significantly more non-medical circumcision of boys than other countries and "have a significantly higher prevalence of SIDS than non-anglophone," according to the study, which was published last month by the Biorxiv website.
The results are based on a study from 15 countries and over 40 US states in 1999-2016. Elhaik's team examined the relationship between SIDS and what researchers saw as two common causes of stress in very young infants: neonatal circumcision and premature birth.
In the United States, circumcision accounted for approximately 14.2 percent of the prevalence of SIDS in men, the researchers write, adding that this "recalls the Jewish myth of Lilith, the killer of infant males." Preterm birth makes babies three times more likely to die of SIDS than babies who have spent nine months in the womb, so
SIDS rates are significantly lower in US states where Hispanics make up more than eight percent of the population, the researcher wrote , Circumcision is relatively rare in Latin America.
SIDS prevalence was the lowest in the Netherlands with 0.06 deaths per 1,000 births and highest in the United States with 0.82 deaths. According to the World Health Organization, at least 61 percent of Americans circumcise their children. In the Netherlands, there are less than five percent of the population, almost exclusively Muslims and Jews who have the procedure
Hugo Heymans, one of the leading paediatricians in the Netherlands, who had worked for decades at the Amsterdam Academic Medical Center, dismissed Elhaik's study as "flawed, biased and unreliable," reported the reformatory Dagblad daily earlier this week.
"Jewish parents have nothing to fear," said Heymans, who himself is Jewish
Boys are circumcised when they are eight days old. For Muslims, circumcision usually occurs later in childhood, but before the child enters adolescence. SIDS can only occur during the first year of life of the child.
Heymans cites the fact that Elhaik's study does not consider the potential impact of additional factors that may affect SIDS. "There are many socio-economic differences between Hispanics and White Americans, as well as different eating habits," which are not included in Elhaik's study, Heymans said.
Non-medical circumcision of boys is a topic of debate among medical professionals.
In 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control and Control (CDC) recommended circumcision as a means of reducing HIV contraction. In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that the health benefits of male circumcision outweighed the risks.
But the child advocates of all Scandinavian countries said in 2014 that circumcision of boys violates their human rights unnecessarily, because they do not provide proven evidence Medical treatment, according to several studies
The practice of circumcision of boys in Western Europe is attacked by left-wing activists, citing child rights issues, as well as right-wingers claiming that circumcision is a foreign import that should do so
In 2016, Elhaik and a colleague published a study suggesting that today's Ashkenazi Jews are converted from converts to Judaism in the Turkey today. Leading scholars of Ashkenazi Judaism dismissed this study as flawed and unfounded.