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No mental damage from circumcision

MagazineMay 1999 (Vol. 10 Issue 2)No mental damage from circumcision

As for whether circumcision interrupts bonding and long term psychological development, I've never read so much tosh! Jewish family life is noted for its warmth and close family bonds

As for whether circumcision interrupts bonding and long term psychological development, I've never read so much tosh! Jewish family life is noted for its warmth and close family bonds.

In terms of psychological development, mental illness has for centuries been lower in Jewish communities than in other groups.

Of course the infant cries, traditionally it is put straight on the breast, sleep ensues and healing is normally rapid. Joseph Cohen, London N3.

Dr Jenny Goodman replies: The baby being circumcised cries and screams for the simple reason that it is in agony. Science only confirms what our senses tell us: the baby's pulse rate, breathing rate and cortisol levels rise hugely during circumcision, to levels indicative of extreme trauma (JAMA, 1988; 259: 1507-11; JAMA, 1993; 270: 830-3). Studies have also shown quite conclusively that breastfeeding, bonding and sleep are disrupted by circumcision (New Engl J Med, 1987; 317: 1321-9; Psychosom Med, 1974; 36: 174-9).

Growing numbers of young Jewish parents are now saying no to circumcision.

50 reasons to leave your foreskin (intact)

Having the foreskin removed eliminates:

Oestrogen receptors the purpose and value of which is not yet understood

Ectopic sebaceous glands that lubricate and moisturise

The entire immunological defence system of the soft mucosa, which may produce anti-bacterial and anti viral proteins such as lysozyme, the same as found in mother's milk.

Lymphatic vessels, the loss of which interrupts the lymph flow within a part of the body's immune system

50 per cent or more of the total penile skin

The anatomically unique ability of the intact penis to smoothly glide within itself, which allows non abrasive intercourse without drying out the vagina

10 to 20 per cent of the penis' circumference and as much as one inch of its erect length

Several feet of blood vessels, including the frenular artery, the loss of which interrupts normal blood flow to the shaft and glans of the penis

An estimated 240 feet of microscopic nerves

Between 10,000 and 20,000 specialised erotogenic nerve endings of numerous types which can discern motion, subtle changes in temperature and fine gradations in texture.

The simplest remedy for a tight foreskin [phimosis] is to encourage little boys to play with and particularly to stretch forward the foreskin, with clean hands.

Every child encouraged to help himself in this way has been delighted to have his prepuce completely roll back, anywhere from six weeks to 14 months later. Maurene White Elliott.

Me: it's in the water

The needle and the damage done

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