Older fathers face higher risk of psychiatric disorders

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Children born to middle-aged men are more likely than those born to younger fathers to develop any of a range of mental difficulties, including attention deficits, bipolar disorder, autism and schizophrenia, according to the most comprehensive study to date of paternal age and offspring mental health, reports [s]The New York Times[/s]. Rsearchers analysed data from 2.6m children born in Sweden between 1973 and 2001.Men have a biological clock of sorts because of random mutations in sperm over time, the study suggests, and the risks associated with later fatherhood may be higher than previously thought. Compared with the children of young fathers, aged 20 to 24, those born to men age 45 and older had about twice the risk of developing psychosis, the signature symptom of schizophrenia; more than three times the likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of autism; and about 13 times the chance of having a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder. Children born to older fathers also tended to struggle more with academics and substance abuse.
Full The New York Times report
JAMA Psychiatry Abstract: Paternal Age at Childbearing and Offspring Psychiatric Morbidity


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