Children of older fathers may have more risk of psychiatric problems
Researchers at Indiana University at Bloomington have published a study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry saying that children of older fathers may be at more risk of developing psychiatric problems, such as bipolar disorder, autism, psychosis, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, than children born to younger fathers.
This was a large population-based study that looked at all people born in Sweden over a 28-year period, from 1973-2001. In order to test how much of an influence the age of the father at conception was, the researchers compared children who had been born to older fathers with their older siblings. After comparing family members, the researchers estimated the risk for autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, psychosis, bipolar disorder, suicide attempt, substance abuse and low educational attainment.
The team found that children born to fathers 45 years or older were at higher risk of developing all of these problems, compared with their siblings who were born when their fathers were between 20 and 24 years old.
Even though other factors, such as the order in which different siblings were born, could influence the psychological influence of the child, researchers say that their sibling-comparison results are consistent with previous studies that have indicated that genetic mutations caused by advanced paternal age (APA) during fertilization may be responsible for increased risk of psychiatric problems.