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11th February, 2017. New study in the news

Major Australian review paper in International Journal of Clinical Pediatrics

A new paper by Brian Morris and many co-authors: "Early infant male circumcision: Systematic review, risk-benefit analysis, and progress in policy" appeared in the International Journal of Clinical Pediatrics on February 8th. The paper is open access and you can download or read it here. It attracted immediate media attention, appearing in the news.com.au site on February 8th in both the Lifestyle and Breaking News sections. Both reports were broadly sympathetic. It also got a sympathetic write-up in the UK Daily Mail and a less sympathetic treatment in The Guardian (Australian edition).

Some of these stories make the incorrect claim that 'cosmetic' (i.e. prophylactic) circumcision is banned in public hospitals in Australia. This is nonsense - it is just no longer free to public patients. You can still get it done as a private patient in a public hospital, and Medicare, the Australian universal health insurance system, will pay part of the cost.

Thanks to Tom and Roger for the news links and Brian Morris for the link to the paper.


2nd February, 2017. Margaret Thatcher was in favour of circumcision

She had son Mark done

Regular correspondent AM has dug up an interesting story from 2013. The late Baroness Thatcher, UK hard-right Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, appointed Charles Moore, editor of the conservative British newspaper 'The Daily Telegraph' as her authorised biographer. Given full access to her papers he found a lot of stuff that had not previously been made public, and to her credit she didn't redact anything. This included a letter in which she said she was going to ask Dr Robert Henderson, a former boyfriend, to recommend a private surgeon to have baby son Mark circumcised because she did not want to use the NHS (National Health Service, the universal health insurance system in the UK). (I didn't think the NHS would do routine circs, anyway. Ed.)

The story is in the Evening Standard newspaper, 23 April 2013.


29th January, 2017. Antibiotics in circumcision

Do they do any good - or any harm?

It has become common in minor surgery to use antibiotics as a preventative measure against infection of the operation site. This practice is widely criticised as encouraging the spread of antibiotic resistance. Now a recent large-scale survey of routine infant circumcisions, published in the Journal of Pediatric Urology, has shown that antibiotic use has no significant effect in preventing infections, but does have a small but significant risk of causing allergic reactions to the antibiotic. This suggests that antibiotics should not be used in RIC.

Read the story here.

Thanks to Brian Morris for the story.


24th January, 2017. Nurses to circumcise in the US

Wisconsin hospital introduces cost-saving procedure

The Mayo-Franciscan Hospital in Lacrosse, WI has started training neonatal nurses to perfom circumcision on baby boys. This is a first for the US, though of course it happens all the time in Africa. Dr. Dennis Costakos, neonatology chairman at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, suggests that the move can save money, free up physicians' time, and allow mothers and babies earlier discharge from hospital, since neonatal nurses are always available while physicians are not.

Read the story here.

OK, Tom again!



15th January, 2017. Malaysia circumcision

Government lays down a "Standard operating procedure"

Following on a series of more or less serious accidents (some horrendous) the Malaysian government has set out a standard operating procedure for circumcision. This is obviously a welcome move but at this time it isn't clear how this affects circumcisions done with disposable devices such as the Tara Klamp and Sunathrone.

Read the story here.

Thanks yet one more time to tireless correspondent Tom for sending us the link.



1st January, 2017. Health insurance cover for circumcision

Netherlands insurer defends its policy

Zilveren Kruis (Silver Cross), the Netherlands' largest medical insurer, has defended its coverage of voluntary male circumcision against criticism from far-right groups that it is assisting the spread of Islam.

Read the story here.

Thanks once again to Tom for sending us the link.



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