Circumcision before the age of five may double a boy’s risk of developing autism, according to a controversial new study. Scientists in Denmark believe the link may be due to stress caused by the pain of the procedure.

The study of more than 340,000 boys found that circumcision raised the overall chances of an autism spectrum disorder before the age of 10 by 46%.

But if circumcision took place before the age of five it doubled the risk. Circumcision also appeared to increase the likelihood of boys from non-Muslim families developing hyperactivity disorder.

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