Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Epidemiological Studies Find Older Paternal Age and Autism Linked

Several studies13, 34-39 of clinical samples have reported advanced paternal age in individuals with autism or childhood psychosis. The results of this review show that 3 of the 4 population-based studies28-29,32 to examine paternal age reported a significant association with risk of autism and ASDs. The fourth study31 also found that paternal age was older in fathers of case patients with autism compared with fathers of controls, although this relationship was statistically weaker in the adjusted analysis. Thus, advancing paternal age is consistently associated with increased risk of autism and ASDs.
Advanced paternal age has been associated with several congenital disorders, including Apert syndrome,40 craniosynostosis,41 situs inversus,42 syndactyly,43 cleft lip and/or palate,44-45 hydrocephalus,44 neural tube defects,46 and Down syndrome.47 In addition, advanced paternal age has been associated with schizophrenia15 and decreased intellectual capacities in the offspring.48 The most widely proposed mechanism underlying these congenital anomalies is known as the "copy error" hypothesis, first proposed by Penrose.49 After puberty, spermatocytes divide every 16 days, and by the age of 35 years, approximately 540 cell divisions have occurred. As a result, de novo genetic mutations that result from replication errors and defective DNA repair mechanisms are believed to propagate in successive clones of spermatocytes. These mutations accumulate with advancing paternal age and thus help explain how this disorder, which has a large genetic component, can be maintained in the population despite reduced reproduction in affected individuals.

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At 7:39 PM , Blogger Dr. Leonid Gavrilov, Ph.D. said...

Thank you for your interesting post!
I thought perhaps you may also find this related scientific study interesting to you:
Human Longevity and Parental Age at Conception


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