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: Aging and gene expression—possible links to autism and schizophrenia in offspring

Related Stories

Aging and gene expression—possible links to autism and schizophrenia in offspring

December 9, 2013
Advanced paternal age has been associated with greater risk for psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism. With an increase in paternal age, there is a greater frequency of certain types of mutations that contribute ...

Mental disorders lead to greater heart disease risk, study shows

December 9, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Men with mental disorders are more at risk of developing coronary heart disease, according to a study by the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh.

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

Abusive avatars help schizophrenics fight 'voices': study

November 24, 2017
"You're rubbish. You're rubbish. You're a waste of space." The computer avatar pulls no punches as it lays into the young woman, a schizophrenia sufferer, facing the screen.

Ten-month-old infants determine the value of a goal from how hard someone works to achieve it

November 23, 2017
Babies as young as 10 months can assess how much someone values a particular goal by observing how hard they are willing to work to achieve it, according to a new study from MIT and Harvard University.

Domestic violence turns women off masculine men

November 23, 2017
Women who are afraid of violence within partnerships prefer more feminine men, according to new research carried out by scientists at the University of St Andrews.

Stress in pregnancy linked to changes in infant's nervous system, less smiling, less resilience

November 23, 2017
Maternal stress during the second trimester of pregnancy may influence the nervous system of the developing child, both before and after birth, and may have subtle effects on temperament, resulting in less smiling and engagement, ...

Study finds infection and schizophrenia symptom link

November 22, 2017
If a mother's immune system is activated by infection during pregnancy, it could result in critical cognitive deficits linked to schizophrenia in her offspring, a University of Otago study has revealed.

Schizophrenia drug development may be 'de-risked' with new research tool

November 22, 2017
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) have identified biomarkers that can aid in the development of better treatments for schizophrenia.

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.