Do Older Dads Risk Suicidal Autistic Children?

A recent study being carried out by the researchers at Indiana University suggest children born to older fathers are at a greater risk of psychiatric disorders than children who are born to youthful fathers.

Older Dads and Autism

Earlier studies have also indicated the risks involved with “Advanced Paternal Age.” Late child bearings have been shown to directly impact the child, increasing their risks for schizophrenia, bipolar and autism-related disorders. Further, the children being born to older parents are also seen to struggle academically whilst undergoing intellectual problems.

Studies have further stressed with greater validations that the father’s age at the time of the child’s conception increases the likelihood of ‘de novo mutation’ being developed in the infant.

De novo mutation can be defined as the growth of a gene that becomes active in the family for the first time due to the mutational effect in the sperm or egg from either of the parents.

These mutations are further linked to ASD. Nevertheless, it should be noted that there are no studies that are being entirely dedicated to the growing concerns of advanced parental age and its associated psychiatric problems.

An earlier study that focused its results on obtained data from a large population in Sweden over a timeframe of 28 years has highlighted the case study in their results. To understand their findings in-depth, the researchers compared older siblings born to the father with their younger siblings born to the same father when he was young.

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After a careful study of different family members and measuring the responses, the researchers were able to estimate the following risks:

  • Attention Deficit
  • Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Autism
  • Psychosis
  • Suicide Attempt
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Educational problems
  • Substance Abuse

Children being born to fathers who have passed the age of 45 are seen to be at a greater risk of developing these problems in comparison to the children whose fathers were in the age group of 20 to 25 when they were born.

Due to the study involving siblings, the researchers successfully ruled out any environmental or genetic influence that could be seen to involve one child with a risk compared to the other.

However, at times, sibling based studies are known to have limitations resulting in unreliable data.

For example, it is not possible at times to obtain an accurate analysis of the order of psychological development of a child. The other limitation being that the study assumes that all children born in a family will be exposed to similar conditions growing up, which is not always the case.

Nevertheless, the researchers are confident in their findings and are hopeful the studies will be helpful in raising awareness about increased risks of advanced parental aging and its associated psychiatric problems.

Do older dads risk their children being born autistic and having suicidal tendencies?
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