According to a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry the age of the parents plays a crucial role in the child’s risk of developing ASD (autism spectrum disorder). It seems that parents who are older and teen moms may give birth to children who are more exposed to developing autism. The study is one of the largest ones which compared parental age and mental condition.
The study was conducted on 30.902 children who suffered from ASD and 5,766,794 children who did not suffer from ASD. The researchers compared the two groups. The participants were from Israel, Australia, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The results of this study were similar to the findings of other previous researches. It seems that the risk of giving birth to children with autism when the father is older than 50 years is 66% higher than in the cases when the father has around 20 years. In the case of fathers who were in their 40s the risk was 28% higher than in the case of fathers who were in their 20s. As far as mothers were concerned when compared to mothers who were around 20 years old the ones who were in their 40s were 15% more likely to give birth to autistic children.
Previous researches suggest that in the case of autistic children with older fathers it seems that the genetic mutations from the aging sperm were connected with autism development.
In addition it seems that because of the natural sexual differences boys are more likely than girls to develop autism. This condition includes communication difficulties, stereotypes patterns of behavior and social impairments.
Even though the study indicates a strong link between the age of the parents and autism risk this is not a cause-effect situation on a common basis. In general the risk of developing autism is very low irrespective of the age of the parents.
The lead author of the study Sven Sandin from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm declared:
“This study cannot determine what the mechanisms are. But it does suggest that degrading sperm is not likely to be the only mechanism that explains the relation between age of parents and autism. Other mechanisms are likely to be involved.”
Image Source: Fox News