Children of older dads more likely to suffer mental illness, study shows

January 22, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Children with older fathers are more susceptible to mental health disorders a University of Queensland (UQ) study has found.

Led by the Queensland Brain Institute's (QBI) Professor John McGrath, an international team of researchers used Danish health registers to examine the maternal and paternal age of 2,894,688 at birth.

"The study followed people with a a broad range of including schizophrenia, mood disorders, neurotic, stress-related, eating disorders, personality disorders and a range of developmental and childhood disorders born from 1955 to 2007, for the equivalent of 42.7 million person years," Professor McGrath said.

"We found that the overall risk for psychiatric disorders, in particular , autism and schizophrenia, increased for those born to a father over the age of 29 years."

The association between parental age and risk of mental disorders in offspring may be confounded by a range of factors.

"De novo (or new) mutation in the developing sperm cell may contribute to an increased risk for a surprisingly wide range of disorders, including schizophrenia, autism and mental retardation."

When analyzing the data, the team also confirmed a link between the offspring of younger mothers and substance abuse disorders, hyperkinetic disorders and mental retardation.

"For the broad range of neurotic and stress related disorders, the offspring of teenaged mothers were at the highest risk."

The study is a reminder that the offspring of older father have an increased risk of a range of disorders.

"Recent genetic studies have confirmed that the offspring of have more de novo (or new) mutations. Our new studies suggest that age-related mutations from the father may impact on the mental health of the offspring."

In short, the biological clock ticks for men, as well as women.

In addition to the recent attention accorder to the risk for mental disorders in the offspring of older fathers, the study demonstrates a more complex and nuanced pattern of association between maternal and paternal ages and the risk for mental in their offering.

The study, "A Comprehensive Assessment of Parental Age and Psychiatric Disorders," will be published in JAMA Psychiatry on January 22, 3pm CT.

Explore further: Mental disorders in parents linked to autism in children

Related Stories

Mental disorders in parents linked to autism in children

May 5, 2008

Parents of children with autism were roughly twice as likely to have been hospitalized for a mental disorder, such as schizophrenia, than parents of other children, according to an analysis of Swedish birth and hospital records ...

Mutation clue to disorders in older dads' offspring

September 1, 2011

Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) researchers have discovered a genetic mechanism that may explain why the children of older fathers are more likely to develop schizophrenia or autism.

Study reveals molecular networks of mental health disorders

February 27, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Early diagnosis and intervention for ADHD, autism and schizophrenia could be made possible after Australian scientists discovered the molecular networks in the brain showing psychiatric and developmental ...

Recommended for you

Psychosis associated with low levels of physical activity

August 25, 2016

A large international study of more than 200,000 people in nearly 50 countries has revealed that people with psychosis engage in low levels of physical activity, and men with psychosis are over two times more likely to miss ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.