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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Researchers say declining circumcision rates will raise health-care costs by billions

By Eryn Brown





A team of economists and epidemiologists estimates that every circumcision not performed leads to significant increases in lifetime medical expenses to treat sexually transmitted diseases and related cancers


JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Declining rates of circumcision among infants will translate into billions of dollars' worth of unnecessary medical costs in the United States as the boys grow up and become sexually active men, researchers at Johns Hopkins University said.

In a study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, a team of economists and epidemiologists estimated that every circumcision not performed would lead to significant increases in lifetime medical expenses to treat sexually transmitted diseases and related cancers - increases that far surpass the costs associated with the procedure.



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Circumcision is a hotly debated and emotional issue in the U.S., where rates have been falling for decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, about 80 percentof baby boys were routinely circumcised in hospitals or during religious ceremonies; by 2010, that figure had dropped below 55 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some of that decline is due to shifting attitudes among parents, but at least part of it can be traced to the decision by many states to eliminate Medicaid coverage for the procedure. Today 18 states, including California, do not provide Medicaid coverage for the procedure, which is considered cosmetic by many physicians.

But in the past decade, studies have increasingly shown that removing the foreskin of the penis has significant health benefits, said Dr. Aaron Tobian, senior author of the new study.

Three randomized trials in Africa have demonstrated that circumcision was associated with a reduced risk of contracting HIV, human papillomavirus and herpes simplex in men. One of those studies documented a reduced risk of HPV, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis in the female partners of men who were circumcised.

Circumcision is believed to prevent STDs by depriving pathogens of a moist environment where they can thrive. The inner foreskin has been shown to be highly susceptible to HIV in particular because it contains large numbers of Langerhans cells, a target for the virus.

Tobian and his colleagues developed a computer-based simulation to estimate whether declining circumcision rates would lead to more STDs and thus higher medical costs.

If circumcision rates remain around 50 percentinstead of the higher rates of years past, the lifetime health-care costs for all of the babies born in a single year will likely rise by $211 million, the team calculated.

If circumcision rates were to fall to 10 percent - which is typical in countries where insurance does not cover the procedure - lifetime health-care costs for all the babies born in a year would go up by $505 million. That works out to $313 in added costs for every circumcision that doesn't happen, according to the report.

In this scenario, nearly 80 percent of the additional projected costs were due to medical care associated with HIV infection in men, the team wrote.

The model includes only direct medical costs such as treatment for penile and cervical cancer, which are associated with HPV infection. It doesn't consider nonmedical or indirect costs, such as transportation to doctors' appointments or lost income.

To Tobian, the message is clear: Government efforts to save money by denying coverage for circumcision are penny-wise but pound-foolish.

"The federal Medicaid program should reclassify circumcision from an optional service to one all states should cover," he said.

That sentiment was echoed in an editorial accompanying the study. UCLA health economist Arleen Leibowitz wrote that by failing to require states to cover circumcision in Medicaid plans, the U.S. reinforces health-care disparities.

"If we don't give poor parents the opportunity to make this choice, we're discriminating against their health in the future," she said in an interview. "If something is better for health and saves money, why shouldn't we do it? Or at least, why shouldn't we allow parents the option to choose it?"

Ellen Meara, a researcher at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice who was not involved with the study, praised the researchers for conducting a careful analysis. But she questioned whether data from HIV studies in Africa were applicable to the U.S. Medicaid population.

Still, it's "the best information we have," she said. "There's nothing better to plug in."

The analysis comes a week before the American Academy of Pediatrics is scheduled to release a new policy on circumcision. Since 1999, the doctors group has taken a neutral stance on the procedure, saying that "the scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits" but that it's not strong enough to say that circumcision should be routine.

Joel Hay, a health economist at the University of Southern California, said the new study is inherently flawed because ethical concerns about the procedure trump any economic analysis of its potential benefits.

"You're taking an asymptomatic individual and forcing a procedure on him," he said.

Hay also argued that Americans don't need circumcision to prevent HIV infection because they have other options, such as using condoms. He said that just last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a once-a-day pill called Truvada to reduce the risk of HIV transmission in high-risk groups.

"There's no reason why people have to engage in this irreversible procedure," he said.

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© 2012, Los Angeles Times Distributed by MCT Information Services