"It is very possible that PATERNAL AGE is the major predictor of(non-familial) autism." Harry Fisch, M.D., author "The Male Biological Clock". Sperm DNA mutates and autism, schizophrenia bipolar etc. results. What is the connection with autoimmune disorders? Having Type 1 diabetes, SLE,etc. in the family, also if mother had older father. NW Cryobank will not accept a sperm donor past 35th BD to minimize genetic abnormalities.VACCINATIONS also cause autism.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Risk of Non-Familial Autism Is Often Related To the Age of the Father at a Child's Birth

Published on the EBD Blog

In order to access the links and the complete comment section please read this paper where it was originally published: THE EBD BLOG

cFathers’ Age as Contributor to Risk for Autism
Leslie Feldman
The average age of fatherhood is increasing in the US and in Western Europe. Some research shows that offspring of older fathers are at increased risk for diseases and conditions (Bray et al., 2006). Some experts predict an upswing in cases of schizophrenia will accompany the increasing average paternal age. “The actual percentage of cases with paternal germ line-derived schizophrenia in a given population will depend on the demographics of paternal childbearing age, among other factors. With an upswing in paternal age, these cases would be expected to become more prevalent” (Malaspina et al., 2006). Approximately 25-33% of all cases of schizophrenia may be due to the father’s age at conception, according to Malaspina (2006). Malaspina sees a connection between advancing paternal age and neural functioning difficulties in people with autism and with schizophrenia. According to Tarin et al. (1998), there are well over 30 known conditions that the offspring of older fathers are more at risk for (see chart on paternal aging in the linked article).

The diagnosis of autism is increasing in the US and elsewhere (Centers for Disease Control, 2006). In a population study of 1990 through 1999, a total of 669,995 children, Atladóttir and colleagues (2007) reported increased diagnosese of autism, Torrette Syndrome, and hyperkinetic disorder. Is there a connection between increased cases of disorders such as autism and increased average paternal age? Psychiatrist Michael Craig Miller (2006), editor of the Harvard Mental Health Letter is convinced there is. Although a connection between the two would be corelational (not causal), the relationship encourages examination of the possibility that something related to paternal age (e.g. mutations in gametes) may contribute to the occurrence of autism. If there is a potential causal relationship, the new study by the Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) Network would provide a valuable opportunity to test the hypothesis.

Observations of a connection between advanced paternal age and difficulties for offspring go way back. Earlier research looking for a link between maternal age and autism also found the average paternal age (34) was much higher than the average age in the general population (Gillberg, 1980). Geneticist James F. Crow (1997) cites Wilhelm Weinberg (1862-1937) as noticing, during his 42 years of medical practice and helping 3,500 births, that the mutation rate might be a function of paternal age. Crow said, the evidence suggested that the greatest mutational health hazard in the population is fertile old men.

A study by Reichenberg et al. (2006) found a strong connection between cases of autism and advancing paternal age. Reichenberg and colleagues, who found more autism as paternal age increased, also found that the ratio of girls to boys in this cohort was 1:1, suggesting that this was a special subset of autism, maybe de novo rather than familial autism.

What might be the mechanism that produces higher rates of disorders among children of older fathers? The DNA in a 20 year-old male has been copied approximately100 times but in a 50 year-old father it has been copied over 800 times. Singh and colleagues (2003) studied differences in the sperm of older and younger men. Men over age 35 have sperm with lower motility and more highly damaged DNA in the form of double-strand breaks. The older group also had fewer apoptotic cells, an important discovery. (Apoptosis is form of cell death that protects the parent organism from problems or that permits differentiation, as in resorption of a tadpole’s tail.) A really key factor that differentiates sperm from other cells in the body is that they do not repair their DNA damage, as most other cells do. As a result, the only way to avoid passing DNA damage to a child is for the damaged cells to undergo apoptosis, a process that the study indicates declines with age. Singh is quoted in Science Blog (Sullivan, 2002) as explaining that, “In older men, the sperm are accumulating more damage, and those severely damaged sperm are not being eliminated.”


The following list of sources is for works cited in this document or for other studies finding a connection between age of fathers at conception and various disorders. Access to some of the Web-based resources may be limited because of the policies of the publishers.

Atladóttir, H. O., Parner, E. T., Schendel, D., Dalsgaard, S., Thomsen, P. H., & Thorsen, P. (2007). Time trends in reported diagnoses of childhood neuropsychiatric disorders. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med., 161, 193-198. Link

Brown et al. (2002): Paternal age and risk of schizophrenia in adult offspring. Am J Psychiatry, 159, 1528-1533. Link

Bray, I., Gunnell, D., & Smith, G. D. (2006). Advanced paternal age: How old is too old? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 60, 851-853. Link

Burd et al., (1999). Prenatal and perinatal risk factors for autism. J. Perinatal. Med., 27, 441-450. Link

Byrne, M., Agerbo, E., Ewald, H., Easton, W. W., & Mortensen, P. D. (2003). Parental age and risk of schizophrenia, A case control study. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 60, 673-678. Link

Centers for Disease Control, (2006). How common are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)? Link

Centers for Disease Control. (2002). Prevalence of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in multiple areas of the United States, 2000 and 2002. Atlanta, GA: Author. Link

Crow, J. F. (1997). The high spontaneous mutation rate: Is it a health risk? Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 8380-8386. Link

Dalman, C., & Allebeck, D. (2002). Paternal age and schizophrenia: Further support for an association. Am J Psychiatry, 159, 1591-1592. Link

Gillberg, C. (1980). Maternal age and infantile autism. J. Autism and Developmental Disorders, 10, 293-297. Link

Lauritsen M. B., Pedersen, C. B., & Mortensen, P. B. (2005) Effect of familial risk factors and place of birth on the risk of autism: a nationwide register-based study. J. Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 963-971. Link

Miller, M. C. (2006) A new key to Autism. Aetna IntelliHealth, September 25. Link

Malaspina, D., et al. (2001): Advancing paternal age and the risk of schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 58, 361-367. Link

Malaspina, D. (2006). In session with Dolores Malaspina, MD, MSPH: Impact of childhood trauma on psychiatric illness (interview by N. Sussman). Primary Psychiatry, 13(7), 33-36. Link

Malaspina, D. (2006). Schizophrenia risk and the paternal germ line. Schizophrenia Research Forum. Link

Rasmussen, F. (2006) Paternal age, size at birth, size in young adulthood&mdashrisk factors for schizophrenia. Eur Journal of Endocrinology, 155 Suppl 1:S65-69. Link

Reichenburg, A., Gross, R., Weiser, M. Bresnahan, M., Silverman, J. Harlap, S., et al. (2006). Advancing paternal age and autism. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 63, 1026-1032. Link

Singh, N. P., Muller, C. H., & Burger, R. E. (2003). Effects of age on DNA double-strand breaks and apoptosis in human sperm. Fertility and Sterility, 80, 1420-1430. Link

Sipos, A., Rasmussen, R., Harrison, G., Tynelius, P., Lews, G., Leon, D. A., et al. (2004). Paternal age and schizophrenia: A population based cohort study. BMJ, 329, 1070. Link

Sullivan, B. J. (2002). Research reveals a cellular basis for a male biological clock. Science Blog, 2002-11-25 22:31. Link

Tarin, J. J., Brines, J., & Cano, A. (1998). Long-term effects of delayed parenthood. Human Reproduction, 13, 2371-2376. Link

Tsuchiya, K. J., Takagai, S., Kawai, M., Matsumoto, H., Nakamura, K., Minabe, Y., et al. (2005). Advanced paternal age associated with an elevated risk for schizophrenia in offspring in a Japanese population. Schizophrenia Research, 76, 337-342. Link

Wohl, M. & Gorwood, P. (2006). Paternal ages below or above 35 are associated with a different risk for schizophrenia in offspring. Eur. Psychiatry, Dec 1 [Epub ahead of print]. Link

Zammit, S., Allebeck, P., Dalman, C., Lundgerg, I., Hemming, T., Owen, M. J., et al. (2003). Paternal age and risk for schizophrenia. Br. J. Psychiatry, 183, 405-408. Link

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Pingback by EBDblog » Paternal age–more — 21 February 2007 @ 3:08 pm

February 9, 2007 / 56(SS01);1-11

Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, Six Sites, United States, 2000

Corresponding author: Catherine Rice, PhD, Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC, 1600 Clifton Road, N.E., MS E-86, Atlanta, GA 30333. Telephone: 404-498-3860; Fax: 404-498-3550; E-mail:

Comment by Leslie Feldman — 21 February 2007 @ 7:36 pm

Dr. Narendra P.Singh suggested that I elaborate about what happens when the DNA in the primitive sperm making cells divides hundreds and hundreds of times as men age.

I will try.

Mutations arise with each cell division and the mutation rate increases with age. There are base substitutions and deletions and other copying errors. In a man of 45 there have been 770 cell divisions ancestral to a sperm. See James F. Crow’s paper, “The high spontaneous mutation rate: Is it a health risk? in the sources section of the paper.

Comment by Leslie Feldman — 22 February 2007 @ 7:38 pm


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At 3:56 PM, Blogger CyberCelt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger CyberCelt said...

Sorry, I had left an URL in my last post that did not work. Here is a repost.


Great article you have written.

Have you read any of the research on autism and vaccinations? I find the increase in the instances of autism beyond frightening.

Here from the Blog Village carnival on health.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Green Earth said...

Calling over from`The Blog Village Carnival' to thank you for this informed read.

At 12:03 AM, Blogger Jackie said...

Popped in from Blog Village Health Carnival.

Excellent article.

Like cybercelt I have read many articles on another cause being vaccinations.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Naomi said...

Very informative post. Here in England, they link autism in some children to vaccinations. I'm visiting you from the Blog Village carnival

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Lynda Lippin said...

Very interesting as we will not see the full effects of this phenomenon for several years. Well done!

From the Blog Village Carnival...

Pilates & Reiki In paradise Website
Pilates & Reiki In Paradise Blog

At 3:56 AM, Blogger Kathleen said...

thank you so much for putting all of this together. I've heard about this stuff a little here and there, but this really puts things together.

On the personal side, I am sad b/c I always thought I would marry and have kids. I am now 38. The last serious relationship was age 32. Since then, every guy I've met has stopped dating me almost immediately after finding out my age (this was from 33-36) and now, in the last few years, men have stopped asking me out all together. Perhaps if the men I'd met in my 20s-early 30s had felt "more ready".... or more reason to get themselves ready, I would not be spending my time figuring out how to make the best of a life that is unexpectedly alone and without a family.

I don't think I was a bad girlfriend when I was younger, but the mindset definitely was 'there's no rush' from the guys to settle down and have a family.

These articles might spare other young women from going through their lives perceived by men as being more in a rush than they are to settle down (and no, I never put on any pressure... I honestly believed the right one would come along. I guess he didn't.


At 3:58 AM, Blogger Kathleen said...

note it is not 3:45 a.m. where I am! : ) thanks again for the great posts. K

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Dirty Butter said...

It is frightening to see how prevalent autism has become in recent years. At least your post points toward research as to what may be one of the main causes. Knowing what causes the increase is half the battle.

Thank you for entering this information in our BLOG VILLAGE Health Carnival.


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