Wellness Wednesday: Circumcision, Mood-Immune Link, Health Care



Circumcision is a delicate procedure, and a delicate topic of conversation. For some, it’s an important tradition; for others, a form of mutilation. This hour we’ll examine its declining rates in the US. We’ll also talk about a newly found interaction between our immune systems and our psychology, and get a guide to the health care exchange marketplace.


  • Doug Diekema, Director of Education at the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision
  •  Jonathan Godbout, associate professor in the department of neuroscience at OSU
  • Anne Filipic, President of Enroll America

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  • LA

    Circumcision rates in all English-speaking countries who took it up (except America) have declined sharply since the 1950s. The result? A generation of boys in those countries who don’t look like their fathers (and who could care less) and no outbreaks of any health ills that are often used to pressure American parents into cutting their precious baby boys. This surgery is a farce that no doctor can ethically perform in a Western context apart from the extremely rare cases where it is medically necessary.

    Hopefully someday soon American parents will think about circumcision in the same way as do parents in East Asia (you know, the most civilized, healthiest places on earth where almost no one–much less infants–is circumcised) and less like parents in the Middle East and the African bush (you know, the least civilized, least healthy places on earth where most men and many women are circumcised). Tradition will accustom a people to any atrocity.

    A growing number of men circumcised as infants are resenting the decision their parents made for them to remove erogenous tissue (not to mention their glans’ protection) from their body without their consent. They would gladly trade their right to vote for the right to have an intact body–as I think most informed people would.

  • Jackno

    Parents are getting the word, that this practice is very harmful to the man the baby will become. People are becoming aware that the penis parts that are amputated contain over 3 feet of arteries, veins and capillaries and thousands of nerve endings (well above 10,000). Americans are getting the word that the parts of the penis that are cut off are some of the most highly innervated parts of the human. To take this away from another person without their consent is heinous. To do this to a newborn baby is creepy, child abuse and a human rights VIOLATION.

    Cut men like Doug Diekema should not opine and should not push this. They don’t know what it is like to have a whole natural member! Meissner’s corpuscles for light touch and fast touch, Merkel’s disc cells for light pressure and texture, Ruffini’s corpuscles for slow sustained pressure, skin tension, stretch, and slip, and Pacinian corpuscles for deep touch and vibration are found only in the tongue, lips, palms, nipples, fingertips, the clitoris, and in the ridged band at the tip of what is called the male FORESKIN. The nerves are real. The dynamic action of the NATURAL genitals is real. Of course the cutting affects sexual pleasure and function.

    Many cut men do not regret circumcision as they have no clue about what they lost. And that is the point, these guys don’t miss the 20000 pleasure nerves because they have no reference? Like a color blind person not understanding the value of color sight or a one eye person not understanding the value of 3D sight. This group of people making statements about benefits vs risks, when they don’t understand the harm (how could they), would be funny but for all of the mutilations and sexual dysfunction that they will cause.

  • TLCTugger

    It’s sad when a guy like Diekema is presented as some kind of expert on ethics. His job is to see what the AAP can GET AWAY WITH ethicallly; like when he recommended forced genital cutting for little girls to billed by AAP members. http://scienceline.org/2010/07/under-debate-female-circumcision/

  • TLCTugger

    The Euro/Canadian panel of renowned doctors which criticised Diekema’s 2012 AAP policy statement spelled out EXACTLY how the AAP’s bias led them to ignore and discount relevant information about human rights and foreskin function. Diekema has his head in the sand.

  • Rebecca Fine

    The Canadian Pediatric Society is considering changing their circumcision policy to follow that of the AAP. Will be interesting to see what they decide.