Monday, September 04, 2006

Autism Correlation To Father's Age

This research is very telling and will help researchers further narrow down what they are looking for. They can look more at the father's genetics, first and foremost. (Some genetic abnormalities are carried by mom and increase as she ages--Down's Syndrome for example, some by dad and some by both parents. Some are dominant and some are recessive, and I'm not going to explain all that here, because it is complicated, better visually understood, and boring.) Here's the crux of the research:

They identified a total of 208 recruits with an autism spectrum disorder in the larger cohort (paternal data only) yielding a prevalence rate of 6.5 per 10,000, and 110 cases of autism spectrum disorders, for a prevalence rate of 8.3 cases per 10,000, among the cohort for whom complete parental data were available.

The investigators found that there was "a significant monotonic association between advancing paternal age and risk of autism spectrum disorders."

After controlling for year of birth, socioeconomic status, and maternal age, the adjusted odds for autism spectrum disorders among offspring of men age 40, compared to children of men younger than 30, was 5.75 (95% confidence interval, 2.65-12.46; P<0.001).
Actually, looking through the research, I was somewhat alarmed at the increase in the 30s, too. As with Down's, the prevalence really explodes over 40.

These are just more reasons not to mess with Mother Nature. Putting off parenthood, especially first-time parenthood into one's 40s might be convenient for career, but it can result in tired genes getting expressed.

The unfortunate thing starting a family late and then ending up with a special-needs child is elderly parents are raising children who need far more support and for much longer. So at 60, the parent might still have a child-like adult to care for as their own health starts to decline. And then, if the parent dies at 80, the grown autistic child is only 40 and has 40 more years to live (life expectency of autistics is same as general population), but where? Institutionalized?

Most likely, a parent who starts in their 40s and ends up with an autistic child will quit then and there. The result is an only child who cannot care for himself. This will have a negative social impact.

1 comment:

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