Monday, January 19, 2015

Scientific Dishonesty complaint against Frisch et al. (2013)

Scientific Dishonesty

The above linked PDF is the actual complaint.

Find below my statement of interest to:

The Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (Udvalgene vedrørende Videnskabelig Uredelighed [UVVU])
The Education and Research Ministry (Uddannelses- og Forskningsministeriet)

The scientific product for evaluation:

Frisch, et al. (2013). Cultural Bias in the AAP’s 2012 Technical Report and Policy Statement on Male Circumcision. Pediatrics, Volume 131, Number 4. URL <>

Authors from Danish public institutions:

Morten Frisch, MD, PhD
Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen and Center for Sexology Research, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Christian Graugaard, MD, PhD
Center for Sexology Research, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Gorm Greisen, MD, PhD
Department of Pediatrics, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

Poul Jaszczak, MD, PhD
Ethics Committee of the Danish Medical Association, Copenhagen, Denmark

Niels Qvist, MD, PhD
Department of Surgery, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark

Other authors:

While a total of 38 authors are listed for this article, it appears that only those from Danish public institutions fall under the jurisdiction of the UVVU. However, all authors share responsibility for publication of the article, and therefore all should be judged to have engaged in scientific dishonesty. (This assumes that the UVVU doesn’t conclude that only the lack of a statement of Conflict of Interest by Dr. Frisch is a valid complaint.)

My interest:

I have a direct personal interest in this case, because I have published in the area of sexually transmitted diseases (Stodolsky, 1997). (Prepared with assistance by Dr. J. Hilden of the Dept. of Bio-statistics at Copenhagen University.) I have also made presentations in this area to the public via radio broadcast and Internet media (Stodolsky, 1989). Stodolsky and Zaharia (2009) evaluate system acceptability, and show how this approach can be extended to airborne and location-specific infectious agents. Finally, I have published a comment on research methodology in medicine (Stodolsky & Comins, 2000).

Furthermore, I am a member of the Danish Planned Parenthood Foundation (Sex og Samfund [SoS]). After I attempted to present a resolution on male circumcision (MC) at a recent annual general meeting (AGM) of SoS, I was publicly denounced by Dr. Frisch for daring to question “the child’s right to bodily integrity.” Additionally, the leadership of SoS has prevented me from fully presenting such resolutions at two consecutive AGMs by not putting them on the agenda. One explanation for this breakdown of democracy was that SoS had decided to promote a ban on male circumcision, based in part on Frisch et al. (2013). I was also banned from a discussion forum of another Danish NGO, due to my position on MC. Yet another Danish NGO failed to place my resolution on MC on their agenda as a direct result of the publication at issue in this case. Informed public discussion on this issue has been prevented by a one-sided opposition by Dr. Frisch and his compatriots (Stern, 2013).

As a member of SOS against Racism (SOS mod Racisme), I have an interest in promoting good relations among ethnic groups in Denmark. Comments by Frisch et al. have encouraged statements in the public debate, such as “Jews/Muslims mutilate children.” Dr. Frisch is apparently popular with Danish Nazis as a result of his work in this area:

While the Frisch et al. work may not be explicitly racist, it is, at best, an expression of cultural imperialism. The position has been termed unethical and immoral (Banerjee, et al. 2011).

Dr. Frisch has been urged by other researchers to not publish misleading results that contradict well established findings in this area (Morris & Krieger, 2013; Morris & Waskett, 2012). Unfortunately, he has chosen to disregard this advice. Therefore, it now becomes the responsibility of the UVVU to evaluate this scientific dishonesty. If Frisch et al. continue their campaign against male circumcision, it will contribute to 300,000 preventable deaths over the next 10 years (Williams et al., 2006).


Banerjee J, Klausner JD, Halperin DT, Wamai R, Schoen EJ, Moses S, Morris BJ, Bailis SA, Venter F, Martinson N, Coates TJ, Gray G, Bowa K. 2011. Circumcision Denialism Unfounded and Unscientific. Am J Prev Med 2011;40(3)e11– e12.

Morris BJ, Krieger JN. Does male circumcision affect sexual function, sensitivity or satisfaction? ­ A systematic review. J Sex Med 2013;10:2644-57

Morris BJ, Waskett JH, Gray RH. Does sexual function survey in Denmark 
offer any support for male circumcision having an adverse effect? Int J Epidemiol 2012: 41: 310-312.

Stern, MJ. 2013, Sept. 18. How Circumcision Broke the Internet: A fringe group is drowning out any discussion of facts. Slate. URL <>

Stodolsky D. 1989, August 10. Personal Health Security System. [Usenet]. Broadcast in part 1989, August 12 [Shortwave Radio]. Hilversum, The Netherlands: Radio Netherlands International, English Section.

Stodolsky, DS. 1997. Automation of Contagion Vigilance. Methods of Information in Medicine, 36(3), 220-232.

Stodolsky, DS & Comins, JD. 2000. Chiropractic patients more satisfied with chiropractic treatment. In British Medical Journal (Ed.), eLetters for Vickers and Zollman, 319 (7218) 1176-1179. URL <>

Stodolsky, DS & Zaharia, CN. 2009. Acceptance of Virus Radar. The European Journal of ePractice, 8, 77-93. URL <>

Williams BG, Lloyd-Smith JO, Gouws E, Hankins C, Getz WM, Hargrove J, de Zoysa I, Dye C, Auvert B. 2006. The potential impact of male circumcision on HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. PLoS Med 3:E262.


  1. The formal complaint is at this URL:

    1. Use this

  2. Comprehensive risk-benefit analysis of male circumcision:

    1. Correct link:

      However, better to see update:

  3. AIDS epidemic ‘may explode again’ in Africa

  4. The great California foreskin fight of 2011

  5. To understand the importance of these results one should relate the observations to skin in other body areas. In a histological study of eight glabrous (hairless) skin locations, Meissner's index (number of Meissner's cells divided by number of epidermal ridges) was highest in the finger tip (0.96) and lowest in the prepuce (0.28), as was the size of the Meissner's corpuscles in each part of the body: 120–260 × 64–84 μm for finger tip compared with 66–84 × 38–52 μm for the prepuce [45]. The latter study concluded that the prepuce is the least sensitive glabrous tissue of the body.

    These findings suggest that the prepuce has fewer Meissner's corpuscles than any other glabrous skin and that the number of these nerve endings decreases significantly after the teenage to young adult years when sexual activity begins. This makes it very difficult to propose any sexual function for Meissner's corpuscles. A more feasible hypothesis is to regard them as a juvenile phenomenon, perhaps serving to protect the penis until the onset of puberty reveals its sexual function.

    The conclusion we draw from both histological and experimental results is that there is no biological basis for ascribing any sexual function to the prepuce.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Cultural imperialism:

    1. Undermining the response to AIDS in Uganda.