Friday, February 20, 2009

Male Biological Clock and Autism, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer's .Type 1 diabetes

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Men Must Contend With a Biological Clock, Too Older males face higher risk of fathering children with medical problems, research finds

Men Must Contend With a Biological Clock, Too Older males face higher risk of fathering children with medical problems, research finds
By Kathleen DohenyHealthDay Reporter
SATURDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- It wasn't all that long ago that any suggestion that a man had a "biological clock" like a woman, and should father children sooner rather than later, would have been given short scientific shrift.
Not anymore. Today, a growing body of evidence suggests that as men get older, fertility can and does decline, while the chances of fathering a child with serious birth defects and medical problems increase.
Some studies have linked higher rates of serious health problems such as autism and schizophrenia in children born to men as young as their mid-40s.
And doctors and researchers are busy trying to figure out how men who choose to delay fatherhood -- either by choice or necessity, such as a lack of a partner -- can offset the effects of their biological clocks as those clocks wind down.
Interestingly, problems with reduced fertility can start long before middle age, said Dr. Harry Fisch, one of the pioneers in the field in male fertility and director of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons' Male Reproductive Center, in New York City.
"We know after age 30, testosterone levels decline about 1 percent per year," said Fisch, author of the book The Male Biological Clock.
Research done at the University of Washington has found that "as men age, DNA damage occurs to their sperm," said Dr. Narendra P. Singh, a research associate professor in the department of bioengineering, who co-authored a study on the subject.
Several other studies point to problems in the offspring of older fathers, as well as older men experiencing fertility problems.
For instance, Fisch and his colleagues found that if a woman and a man were both older than age 35 at the time of conception, the father's age played a significant role in the prevalence of Down syndrome. And this effect was most detectable if the woman was 40 or older -- the incidence of Down syndrome was about 50 percent attributable to the sperm.
Other researchers have found that children born to fathers 45 or older are more likely to have poor social skills, and that children born to men 55 and older are more likely to have bipolar disorder than those born to men 20 to 24 years of age at the time of conception.
On other fronts, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City found that children of men aged 40 or older were about six times more likely to have autism. Still another study found that the children of fathers who were 50 or older when they were born were almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia....
But Fisch did say, "The sooner, the better."...

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Gender equality: Aging egg and sperm are both problematic

Gender equality: Aging egg and sperm are both problematic

By Cindy Haines, M.D., Special to the Beacon
Posted 10:30 a.m. Fri., Feb. 13 - The trend is clear. Women and men are postponing starting -- or adding to -- their families until their mid to late 30's and beyond. While the proverbial biological clock has historically been in reference solely to females, a growing body of evidence points to a tick-tick factor for males, as well. The number of births in the United States to men aged 40 to 49 has almost tripled between 1980 and 2004, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, making this biological clock analysis more relevant than ever.
Aging dad and infertility
When one thinks of infertility, thoughts may go directly to the female, with a secondary thought of whether or not the male is able to produce viable sperm. If sperm production is a "go", a common assumption may be made that difficulties conceiving or delivering a healthy baby are factors resting exclusively on the woman. Not necessarily so, according to accumulating data on the subject.
In an analysis of couples struggling with fertility problems, lower pregnancy rates and increased risk of miscarriage were seen in cases whereupon the man was age 35 and older. This finding comes from study presented in 2008 at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual conference in Barcelona.
French researchers studied over 12,000 couples seeking care at a fertility clinic where the majority was being treated due to the man's infertility. Collectively, the couples underwent a total of 21,239 intrauterine inseminations (IUIs). Not surprisingly, women over age 35 had a reduced pregnancy rate compared to younger women (8.9 vs. 14.5 percent, respectively).
"But we also found that the age of the father was important in pregnancy rates -- men over 35 had a negative effect. And, perhaps more surprisingly, miscarriage rates increased where the father was over 35," said Dr. Stephanie Belloc, of the Eylau Center for Assisted Reproduction in Paris and author of the study. "Our research proves for the first time that there is a strong paternal age-related effect on IUI outcomes, and this information should be considered by both doctors and patients in assisted reproduction outcomes."
Dr. Peter Ahlering, medical director of SHER Institutes for Reproductive Medicine in St. Louis, agrees that age of would-be fathers may well have an effect on successful pregnancies. "Much of this impact is likely due to environmental exposures which may have an impact on sperm quality," he said
More information
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine on infertility
SHER-St. Louis
Archives of General Psychiatry:
Abstract - Frans
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Ahlering uses HRSS -- high resolution sperm selection -- in the quest for the highest quality sperm. "You can select out under high magnification the sperm to use during [assisted reproductive technologies]," he explains. "You can select out sperm with visible abnormalities which has the effect of increasing fertilization efforts." And the chance of a healthy baby, to boot.
Aging dad and mental illness in his offspring
Advanced paternal age has also been linked with an increased risk of birth defects, including cleft palate and dwarfism. Recent reports have also suggested that children of men who were 40 or older may be up to 6 times more likely to develop autism, jumping to a nine-fold risk when the father's age reaches 50 and beyond. Other mental illness seen more commonly in offspring of aging dads: schizophrenia. A child born to a 40-year-old father may have double the risk of schizophrenia than if the child is born to a father 30 years old or younger. Children of older fathers may also have a higher risk of bipolar disorder (alternating bouts of mania and depression), according to the results of research published in the September issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Over 13,420 subjects with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder were studied. Children of men who were at least 55 years old had a 37 percent greater chance of a bipolar diagnosis compared to children of men ages 20 to 24. The risk was even greater in cases of early-onset disease, suggesting greater severity of disease linked with advancing paternal age.