"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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Age of Autism Awards 2008 Galileo Award: Dr. Andrew Wakefield

December 31, 2008
Age of Autism Awards 2008 Galileo Award: Dr. Andrew Wakefield
From the Roman to the Wakefield Inquisition

By Mark Blaxill

As the year draws to a close, all of us at the Age of Autism are very pleased to honor Dr. Andrew Wakefield. As we’ve reported here many times during the past year, Dr. Wakefield has been the subject of a remarkable and unprecedented campaign to discredit his work and character, most notably in a show trial that is still underway in London, in hearings of the General Medical Council. In the face of extraordinary attempts to silence him, Wakefield has stood up to these attacks with grace and determination and has continued his research and clinical work on behalf of children and families suffering from autism. That makes him our first Age of Autism Galileo Award recipient.

Like many of our awards this year, this wasn’t a difficult decision. In fact, this may be one of those unusual cases where the recipient of an award in some ways outshines its namesake. To understand why that might be so, you need to understand a bit more about why we chose to name the award after the Italian scientist Galileo, what he represents to the history of science and how his experience compares with Wakefield’s.

Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy in 1564. And while he was a physicist and mathematician of some note, Galileo was as much a practical mechanic as he was a grand theorist; indeed it was his tinkering with convex and concave lenses that gave him the tools to leave his lasting mark on the world. As a skilled inventor of early working telescopes, he did not design the world’s first telescope, but he was the first to make them powerful enough for scientific use. In fact, the word telescope (derived from the Greek roots skopein, “to see”, and tele for “far”) was coined in 1611 to describe one of Galileo’s first instruments. For the accomplishments that flowed from his pioneering work, he has been described by many as The Father of Modern Physics; Albert Einstein even went so far as to name him The Father of Modern Science.

But Galileo is celebrated today not as much for his engineering talent as for the suffering he endured in support of an unpopular scientific theory. Because it was Galileo’s work with telescopes in the early 17th century that lent critical support to the theory of heliocentrism, the idea that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around. As with his telescope technology, Galileo was not the first to propose the heliocentric theory: that distinction belongs to Nicolai Copernicus. Yet Copernicus, a Polish mathematician, was well aware of the personal risk of disseminating his ideas and delayed their publication for many years. Copernicus’ major work, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, was published only shortly before his death at age 70 in 1543.

Galileo, by contrast, was an aggressive advocate for the truth as he saw it. He used his telescope to provide clear visual evidence that the sun occupied the center of the solar system. He then published his evidence fearlessly in the prime of his life, starting while in his 40s. And although for a while he obtained the approval of the Vatican to publish some of his work, he was eventually forced to spend most his later life defending himself and his findings. For as the significance of his observations for the prevailing Catholic orthodoxy became increasingly clear, Galileo was derided as a heretic, denounced publicly and finally given an ultimatum: renounce your theory or else. In 1633, he was put on trial by the "Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition", known today as the Roman Inquisition, and convicted of heresy. Barely escaping prison, Galileo spent the rest of his life under house arrest, where he died nearly ten years later.

The many parallels between the Roman Inquisition and the Wakefield Inquisition are uncanny. Like Galileo, Wakefield came to autism both as a practical man and a scientist; his initial involvement in autism was simply in response to a group of parents who approached him as a specialist in pediatric gastroenterology. They told him, “Our children are not defective, they are sick” and Wakefield listened. Also like Galileo, Wakefield didn’t originate the idea that vaccines might play a role in autism, but has become the most prominent developer of the idea. As Galileo’s telescopes allowed him to discover the moons of Jupiter, so did Wakefield’s use of new ways of seeing, in this case an endoscope to see into a child’s intestines, allow him to discover a distinctive gut pathology in autism. He named what he saw autistic enterocolitis, and it was a finding that quite literally turned the brain-centric view of autism upside down. But this was no ordinary finding, for Wakefield’s specific challenge to the orthodox view of autism science made him a target for the medical establishment. He published his first major work in the prestigious journal The Lancet, where the editor Richard Horton had full awareness of its controversial potential. But when the controversy turned too hot to handle, Horton lost his nerve and in a perfidious betrayal that history should remember (see John Stone’s wonderful essay on Horton (HERE)), Horton turned on Wakefield.

Thanks to Horton’s perfidy, and again like Galileo, Wakefield now finds himself on trial for his license to practice medicine in front of the General Medical Council (GMC). And although the GMC might defend the validity of its allegations, it is plain to all who have followed the case closely that the trumped up charges hold little merit. Still, the outcome of the proceedings lies in considerable doubt, for Wakefield has not been subjected to these months of review on the basis of any actual medical misconduct (not surprisingly, no parent with whom he worked supports the GMC’s case). Quite clearly, and again like Galileo in the face of the Roman Inquisition, the offense for which Wakefield is really on trial is heresy. And whenever an Inquisition has begun to confront the conflicts between religious orthodoxy and inconvenient evidence, one can never predict how the High Inquisitors will render their judgment. The only thing we can predict is that a process like the Wakefield Inquisition is always more concerned with appearances than justice.

Wakefield’s heresy comes at a particularly difficult time for the medical profession that has placed him on trial. The twin pillars of its quest for the causes of human disease, germs and genes, have failed for years to explain the scourge of chronic disease: a scourge that has replaced infectious disease as the main public health problem of the developed world. In the face of a simmering disquiet over what has become an increasingly embarrassing scientific failure, it has become ever more important to the profession’s high priests to distract attention from the crumbling bulwarks of their belief system and take action to defend the tools and targets of those pillars: the germ theory of disease that was medicine’s greatest contribution to human civilization and provided its two principle tools, vaccines and antibiotics; and the genetic model of human disease that has been medicine’s great hope to succeed germ theory and the precious disease targets such as autism that it hopes to explain. Seen in this context, Wakefield’s heresies have been unusually threatening because they operate on both fronts: they compete with the genetic explanations of autism with a causal model that threatens to tarnish the heroic triumphs of germ theory.

So like Galileo’s compelling work in support of heliocentrism, Wakefield’s dual challenge to vaccine development and autism science has evoked a strong response from the highest levels of authority. In Wakefield’s case, his prosecutors have determined not only that he must be shown to be wrong, he must also be punished. That means his work on autism (as well as others doing supportive work) must be stopped while he must also be stripped of his credentials as a member of the medical profession. The modern punishment for heresy may not include death, but it can be exile and excommunication.

Casting the treatment of Wakefield as a religious response is the only way to make sense of the behavior of the medical establishment over the last several years. If it were not so serious, its escalating absurdity would begin to resemble farce. One example is the latest defense of the ever-expanding childhood immunization program. Instead of embracing the importance of improving vaccine safety, the program’s defenders have now declared that the temple of the sacred program must never be defiled, and certainly must not be subjected to conventional safety research. So the obvious research project of comparing the total health outcomes in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals has been rejected not merely as too expensive, now it simply must not be done. In the Orwellian logic of the CDC, such studies in humans would be “prospectively unethical” and “retrospectively impossible.”

Let’s be frank here. This is an epistemological obscenity: It’s not just that we don’t know some very basic things about the safety of the sacred program, we also cannot know and should not seek to know. This stance should offend even the most skeptical scientists. Still, the farce continues.

In the meantime, there remains a body of published evidence that must be dealt with. And for this, since the retraction of every published study is well-nigh impossible (some of Wakefield’s less courageous co-authors famously “retracted the interpretation” of the Lancet paper, but they couldn’t retract the evidence) there is only one answer left. Nullify the source of the heresy itself. Practically speaking, when establishment voices can no longer claim the absence of causal evidence, the fallback position must be that there is “no credible evidence” linking vaccines and autism. Removing credibility from the evidence requires that the high priests get personal: they must mount a systematic attack on the personal reputations and integrity of scientists who pursue and publish heretical lines of investigation.

And this is why, decades after Stalin and Mao, we now have the travesty of a 21st century show trial in London, the Wakefield Inquisition. It’s also why the passionate call on a U.K. parents' web-site, Cry Shame, is so deeply correct.


Study: Bipolar Disorder Linked to Older Dads

Study: Bipolar Disorder Linked to Older Dads
at:2008-12-31 05:25:14 Click: 12
Schizophrenia, autism and now bipolar disorder are all linked with older fathers. Here is the Associated Press story by Lindsey Tanner that ran two days ago discussing the newest study.

CHICAGO (AP) — Children born to older fathers face a greater chance of developing bipolar disorder, according to one of the largest studies linking mental illness with advanced paternal age.

Previous research has connected schizophrenia and autism with older dads, and a Danish study published last year added bipolar disorder to the list. The new study led by researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institute strengthens the evidence.

The leading theory is that older men's sperm may be more likely to develop mutations. Even so, the odds of a person becoming bipolar are so low that the study's authors said it shouldn't dissuade older men from becoming fathers.

Researchers analyzed Swedish national registry data from more than 80,000 people, including 13,428 with bipolar disorder who were born between 1932 and 1991.

The risks started increasing around age 40 but were strongest among those 55 and older. Children born to these dads were 37 percent more likely to develop bipolar disorder than those born to men in their 20s.

They also faced more than double the risk of developing bipolar disorder before age 20. Scientists call that early onset disease, and while they have long known that bipolar disorder tends to run in families, early onset disease has been thought to be most strongly linked with genetics.

The age of the mothers didn't appear to be much of a factor.

The study, released Monday, appears in September's Archives of General Psychiatry.

While the findings don't explain what might cause some older men to have bipolar children, it "reinforces the notion that there's a strong biological component to this," said Dr. Harold Pincus, vice chair of psychiatry at Columbia University.

Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings, from deep depression to manic highs. It affects more than 5 million Americans.

Lifetime risks for it have been estimated at roughly 1 percent to 4 percent. The study results suggest that having an older father might increase that slightly. The findings aren't definitive, but even if the link proves to be real, Pincus noted that still means most people with older fathers won't ever get bipolar disorder.

Factors involving mothers, including age and health, have long been thought to be most closely linked with birth defects and other abnormalities. But the new study adds to mounting evidence that paternal factors also play an important role, said New York University researcher Susan Harlap.

Sperm are produced throughout a man's lifetime, and scientists believe that as men age there is a greater chance for mutations that could contribute to disorders in their children.

Advanced paternal age also has been linked with birth defects, and some sperm banks have age limits for donors because of that.

While important for scientists, the study results shouldn't discourage older men from fathering children, said Emma Frans, the lead author.

She said the results suggest that similar mechanisms might contribute to risks for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and autism. Each of these disorders is thought to have many causes including biologic and outside factors.

On the Net:
National Institutes of Health bipolar information:
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Les at : 2008-12-31 08:25:35
Type 1 diabetes, MS, Alzheimer's, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, breast, prostate, leukemia, and early childhood cancer are among the many other disorders that rise in incidence with increasing paternal age. Some sperm US banks refuse sperm of a man past his 35th birthday to try an avoid paternal age related genetic disease. By the age of 33-35 men are rapidly accumulating mutations in their sperm making cells.


Monday, December 29, 2008

CNN updated 12:25 p.m. EST, Fri December 26, 2008Feedback

The top health stories of 2008

Debate over the causes of autism continued to rage after a court decided to compensate a family whose daughter developed the disorder after receiving childhood vaccinations.
For years, some parents have contended that childhood vaccinations cause autism.
But studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and elsewhere have found no link between autism and vaccines. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and other medical organizations have repeatedly asserted that vaccines are safe.
But the Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation concluded that Hannah Poling, a child who had been predisposed to autism, had a condition that was "significantly aggravated" by vaccinations and that her family should be compensated.
Hannah began having problems after receiving nine childhood vaccines in 2000, said her father, Dr. Jon Poling, a neurologist in Athens, Georgia.
While the Polings said they don't oppose childhood vaccinations, they want thimerosal, a mercury vaccine preservative, removed.
Thimerosal was removed from infant vaccines beginning in 1999. Even after its removal, the autism rate has continued to climb. The CDC estimates that one in 150 children is affected.
The United Nations declared the first official World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 this year.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Men have biological clocks, too

Men have biological clocks, too

Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Most of us are familiar with female menopause. As women get older, they become less fertile and the risk of delivering a baby with genetic defects increase. But what about men?
From Hugh Hefner to Donald Trump, men father children well into middle and old age. However, doctors believe there is a biological clock ticking away for men, too. As men age, they face an increased risk of passing genetic defects along to their children and lower fertility rates. The clock starts ticking faster around age 40 -- not too long after a woman`s clock stops!
THE RISKS: Links have been made between paternal age and neurological disorders like autism, birth defects like Apert`s syndrome, and mental illnesses like schizophrenia. In fact, according to one study, one in every 47 children born to men ages 50 to 54 developed schizophrenia. Another study conducted at Columbia University concluded the older a man is when he conceives a child makes his partner three-times more likely to miscarry, even when she is young, healthy and has no other risk factors. Older fathers are also more likely to have children who are dwarfs or are born with progeria, a rare genetic disease that causes children to age as much as an 80 year old would before the child reaches his or her teenage years.
THE SCIENCE AT WORK: The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has set the maximum age for semen donors at 40. Men produce sperm every day after puberty. Their reproductive, sperm-producing cells divide and replicate about 770 times by age 45. The more times a cell replicates, the greater the chance there will be a copying error, thus creating a mutation, which almost always means trouble. According to Dave McCulloh, Ph.D., embryologist at Hackensack University, as a man ages, chemical changes occur in his body. "He has lower testosterone levels, lower DHEA, lower estrogen, plus higher levels of FSH and LH, which signal pretty much the same thing in women -- reproductive failure," Dr. McCulloh was quoted as saying.
WHAT CAN MEN DO? For the most part, there is little men can do to ward off these effects -- short of inventing a pill to halt the aging process. But there are some lifestyle changes men can be aware of to lessen the effects of environmental factors that impact sperm. Smoking and heavy drinking appear to damage sperm, as do some pesticides. Studies have also shown men who smoke a lot of marijuana tend to have lower sperm counts.
SOURCE: Paul D. Thacker; Karine Kleinhaus, M.D. © 2007 ABC Inc., WLS-TV Chicago.Source: ABC 7 Chicago

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This Woman is on to Something

Lisa WadePosted December 27, 2008 12:41 AM (EST) BIO Become a Fan Get Email Alerts Bloggers' Index
The "Ticking Clock" and the Mommy/Daddy Double Standard

a 34 year-old woman with no discernible desire to have children, I've had it up to here with this ticking clock nonsense. Oh I may change my mind about having kids, but I may not. And if I do, I am not going to suddenly decide that my life is meaningless if I don't get a kid RIGHT NOW. Please.

Part of what bugs me about the ticking clock narrative is that it suggests that only women need to be concerned about the age at which they reproduce. It seems that it is always women's bodies and behaviors that are problematized, while men's go unexamined. For example, Laury Oaks writes about how pregnant women's smoking is stigmatized, but no one ever seems to be concerned about her partner's smoking, even if she passively ingests cigarette smoke day in and day out. It turns out, many pregnant women can't get their partners to quit smoking around them because their partners are assholes. But no one ever calls those guys out for endangering the health and viability of a growing child. In fact, if anything, she get blamed for not "getting away from him." (I grant that Oaks' conclusions are slightly more measured.)

Anyway, a report on a set of studies just came out linking older paternal age to bad outcomes for kids. These studies show that boys with older fathers have lower IQs and higher rates of autism and social awkwardness. They've found a link, also, with older paternal age and the incidence of schizophrenia.


Thursday, December 25, 2008



Sydney researchers confirmed men have a ticking biological clock, too, with semen tests showing male fertility starts a steady decline from the age of 35 when sperm fragments. The changes make it more difficult for couples to conceive and more likely a baby will be born with a developmental disorder.


The Paternal-Age Effect in Apert Syndrome Is Due, in Part, to the Increased Frequency of Mutations in Sperm

Copyright © 2003 The American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved.
The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 73, Issue 4, 939-947, 1 October 2003



The Paternal-Age Effect in Apert Syndrome Is Due, in Part, to the Increased Frequency of Mutations in Sperm

Rivka L. Glaser1, Karl W. Broman2, Rebecca L. Schulman1, Brenda Eskenazi3, Andrew J. Wyrobek4 and Ethylin Wang Jabs1, ,

1 Institute of Genetic Medicine, Center for Craniofacial Development and Disorders, Department of Pediatrics
2 Department of Biostatistics, Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
3 Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
4 Biology and Biotechnology Research Program, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA

Address for correspondence and reprints: Dr. Ethylin Wang Jabs, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Center for Craniofacial Development and Disorders, Department of Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, CMSC 1004, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287-3914

A paternal-age effect and the exclusive paternal origin of mutations have been reported in Apert syndrome (AS). As the incidence of sporadic AS births increases exponentially with paternal age, we hypothesized that the frequency of AS mutations in sperm would also increase. To determine the frequency of two common FGFR2 mutations in AS, we developed allele-specific peptide nucleic acid–PCR assays. Analyzing sperm DNA from 148 men, age 21–80 years, we showed that the number of sperm with mutations increased in the oldest age groups among men who did not have a child with AS. These older men were also more likely to have both mutations in their sperm. However, this age-related increase in mutation frequency was not sufficient to explain the AS-birth frequency. In contrast, the mutation frequency observed in men who were younger and had children with AS was significantly greater. In addition, our data suggest selection for sperm with specific mutations. Therefore, contributing factors to the paternal-age effect may include selection and a higher number of mutant sperm in a subset of men ascertained because they had a child with AS. No age-related increase in the frequency of these mutations was observed in leukocytes. Selection and/or quality-control mechanisms, including DNA repair and apoptosis, may contribute to the cell-type differences in mutation frequency

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Older fathers have autistic sons (and daughters)

Older fathers have autistic sons
Wed, 24 Dec 2008 16:10:07 GMT

Paternal age has been found to affect the risk of developing poor social skills and mental function as well as autism in male offspring.

According to a study published in Schizophrenia Bulletin, the older a father is, the greater the risk of his son having lower IQ and displaying poor social abilities.

Scientists believe men with poor social skills tend to get married late and often transmit this characteristic to their sons.

Poor social skills are 50 percent more prevalent among boys with fathers who are 45 and older. Schizophrenia is also more frequently reported in these children.

Genetic damage and the accumulation of pollutants absorbed from the environment are the main factors increasing the risk of having autistic children in older parents. Previous studies had reported that the mother's educational level determines the risk of having autistic offspring.

Compared to maternal age, the effects of paternal age on the health of sons are quite small. Pregnancy-induced (gestational) diabetes, low-lying placenta and premature birth as well as an increased risk of Down syndrome are the most common pregnancy complications experienced by older women.


Will Jonathan Sebat Warn That Older Paternal Age is a Robust Cause of Schizophrenia and Autism


News Sports Opinion Obituaries Contents



Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's
10 Leading Research Discoveries of 2008

In 2008, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) published dozens of research articles in the most prestigious journals of their respective fields. Their accomplishments stretched from discovering important new information about the genetic underpinnings of devastating diseases including schizophrenia and cancer, to piecing together the signaling networks and molecular mechanisms put into play by disease-related genes.

Research teams at the Laboratory also discovered the far-reaching power of various small RNA molecules to regulate genes and protect the genome; worked out "epigenetic" mechanisms of inheritance in various organisms; and descended into the mysterious depths of the brain to chart the structural and mechanistic basis of information processing.

The achievements described here are "only a sample of the literally dozens of path breaking studies that our faculty completed through early December," notes CSHL President Bruce Stillman, Ph.D. Stillman points out that CSHL is at the very top of a short list of research institutions judged by independent analysts at Thomson Reuters to have had the most profound impact upon the field of molecular biology in the period since 2003, the year in which the full reference version of the human genome was published. "Being at the leading edge in such an intensely competitive field is a significant achievement, especially for an institution of our size," Stillman added.

CSHL: 10 Research Highlights for 2008
Role of rare gene mutations in schizophrenia.

Jonathan Sebat and colleagues from the University of Washington and the NIMH added a solid clue to the biological puzzle of schizophrenia. The team identified multiple, individually rare gene mutations in people with schizophrenia that may help explain how the illness is caused. Screening the genome for either deletions or duplications -- what are called gene copy-number variations, or CNVs -- they found that deletions, disruptions and duplications of normal genes were three to four times more frequent in people with schizophrenia than in healthy controls. Moreover, they found more than half of the mutations disrupted genes in pathways implicated in neuronal development and regulation.

A rapid new screening approach identifies 13 tumor suppressor genes in liver cancer.

Building on technologies to identify cancer "hotspots" in the genome, tools to precisely recreate these genetic errors in normal cells, and mouse models to test for the emergence of cancer, five CSHL teams led by Scott Lowe and Scott Powers devised a powerful new screening approach. In contrast to other strategies that take years to test the validity of each gene or mutation in causing cancer, the rapid new screen has the added advantage of only revealing genes that make a functional contribution to the disease process. In a first test, the pay-off was the identification of 13 previously unidentified tumor suppressors - genes that protect against cancer. Such genes are of great interest, in part because they're often missing in samples of tissue taken from liver cancer patients.

Senescence can protect liver tissue against cirrhosis, acute tissue damage.

When cells enter a senescent or "quiet" state, they don't actively divide. Scott Lowe and his team have studied senescence in the context of liver cancer: the activation of senescence in mouse tumor cells, they found, caused liver tumors to shrink by drawing in immune killer cells that destroyed the newly senescent cells. In 2008 the Lowe lab discovered a role for senescence in non-cancer pathology such as that seen in liver cirrhosis and other forms of acute liver damage. Studies in mice showed that senescent cells located in damaged areas of the liver tissue called fibroses provoke a beneficial immune reaction that limits fibrotic lesions and curtails tissue injury.

Splicing together a new therapeutic strategy for a devastating spinal disorder.

In spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a devastating neuromuscular disease, severe damage to nerve cells and connected muscles stems from a protein deficiency. Adrian Krainer and his team have identified the genetic misstep that results in this deficiency - an error in a common process known as alternative splicing that results in the production of an incomplete RNA molecule that, when normal, serves as a template for making the essential protein. Krainer has designed synthetic molecules that help generate the correct RNA, and is now testing whether his strategy will redress the protein anomaly in SMA patients, a possible strategy for reversing the disease.

Cellular 'compasses' keep breast cells off the highway to cancer.

Studying proteins that position cells in the right location and direction within tissues, a team led by Senthil Muthuswamy formulated a new paradigm for thinking about how breast cancer originates and progresses. They showed that one of these cellular "compasses," a protein called Scribble, goads breast epithelial cells into forming the correct duct-like structures and resisting cancer formation. When Scribble stops functioning, the tissues lose shape and cancer ensues, as the team observed in scores of breast cancers from patients.

A molecular scaffold that supports nerve networks in the developing brain cells or "neurons" are organized into complex networks in which they communicate with each other by flashing signals across junctions called synapses. Josh Huang and his team discovered that neurons connect to very specific partners at very specific spots thanks to an underlying framework of molecular "guides" called glial cells. These cells don't send signals, but instead nudge nerve fibers to grow in the right direction and make the right contacts. Huang hopes that piecing together such details on how the brain is wired will help clarify what goes wrong in disorders such as autism.

Re-thinking the thought process.

What's the smallest time interval that you need to decide between a chai and a latte at Starbucks? Well, if you were a rat and the choices were given to you as two different electrical pulses, you'd be able to make a decision even if the two pulses were only 3 milliseconds apart. This remarkable insight comes from the recent work of Anthony Zador and his team, who studied a process known as "spike timing" - the ability of neurons to fire electrochemical pulses or "spikes" in sync with cues they receive from other neurons. Their data supports a novel, alternative theory of how information is processed in the brain. Also in 2008, Adam Kepecs and colleagues demonstrated that rats make calculations about confidence as part of their decision-making process. They suggest that estimation of confidence may be the product of a very basic kind of information processing in the brain, shared widely across species and not strictly confined to humans and other primates.

Deeper insights about RNAs, large and small.

CSHL researchers are contributing to a growing body of evidence debunking the idea that the most of the human genome - some 98 percent of it - is genetic "junk." A team in David Spector's lab shed light in 2008 on possible functions of "non-coding" RNA molecules, announcing the discovery of a previously unknown mechanism in the nucleus that sends different parts of a non-coding RNA molecule called MALAT1 to different cellular destinations. Gregory Hannon and his team found that many seemingly non-functional genes (called "pseudogenes") are a source of small regulatory RNA-molecules that can activate the cell's regulatory apparatus and modify gene activity. His team also identified a new class of small RNAs which, unlike previously discovered small RNAs, both modifies gene activity and acts as an innate defense mechanism against genome-damaging parasites called transposons.

RNA interference helps "silent" DNA remain quiet.

About a tenth of our DNA is silent -- wound into tightly packed clumps called heterochromatin, which unwinds to replicate only when the cell itself divides -- and then reverts to "packed" form in daughter cells. Robert Martienssen and his team found that this inherited clumping of DNA, which causes genes to be expressed in distinctive ways, is transmitted across generations due to a phenomenon called RNA interference (RNAi). They found that during replication, the previously "silent" heterochromatic DNA was copied into small RNA molecules, which in turn guided clumping proteins back to the DNA that they originated from, thereby re-silencing that DNA.

Sequencing of platypus genome unlocks evolution's secrets.

The platypus seems to have had a long, drawn out identity crisis: it is an egg-laying mammal with many confounding physical features. And for scientists, it represents the perfect candidate to understand how genomic innovations and changes are instigated by evolution. In 2008, CSHL scientists were part of a consortium that sequenced the platypus genome. In addition to cataloguing the unique and bizarre features of the genome (10 sex chromosomes!), CSHL's Gregory Hannon and his team separately studied classes of small RNAs present in the platypus, highlighting roles for various types both unique and "conserved" across species by evolution.

For more information, visit


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Parents' Age Linked to Autism in Children

Parents' Age Linked to Autism in Children
Dec 16, 2008

Scientists found that parent's age can be one of the factors, contributing to the development of autism in children. It was suggested that both mother's and father's age should be taken into account.

A new study conducted at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison showed that the risk of autism increases for older parents. Researchers analyzed the data of 253 347 children born in 1994. They had the information of both parent's age of 1251 children diagnosed with autism at age 8.

It was found that mothers aged 35 and older were 30 percent more likely to have autistic child than mothers aged between 25 and 29. Fathers aged over 40 years old were also at greater risk of having a child diagnosed with autism.

The findings also showed that first child born from two older parents was three times more likely to have autism than third child or a child born from younger mother and father. Previous research showed that there is a link between mother's educational level and the risk of autism in children. Dr Maureen Durkin, the leading researcher of the study said that it might actually be mother's age that contributed to the development of autism in her child than educational level, because more educated women tend to be older.

Scientists think that the link between parental age and autism in children can be due to several factors. One of these factors is genetic damage, occurring more often in older parents. Also, older parents have more risk of accumulating pollutants from the environment in their bodies, which increases the risk of developing autism disorder for their children.

Other possible explanations refer to the increased use of assisted reproductive technologies to treat infertility for older parents. From other point of view, psychological characteristics of older parents, who wait longer to have children, contribute to the increase of autism risk in children.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the Reuters Health reported.


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Monday, December 22, 2008


Common Mechanisms May Underlie Autism’s Seemingly Diverse Mutations
wrote : Alfred Hiddings
11:35am, 11 July 2008

Many of the seemingly disparate mutations recently discovered in autism may share common underlying mechanisms, say researchers supported in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)*, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mutations may disrupt specific genes that are vital to the developing brain, and which are turned on and off by experience-triggered neuronal activity.

A research team led by Christopher Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., and Eric Morrow, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard University, found two large sections missing on chromosomes in people with autism and traced them to likely inherited mutations in such genes regulated by neuronal activity.

The study breaks new ground for complex disorders like autism, taking advantage of a shortcut to genetic discovery by sampling families in which parents are cousins. The researchers found genes and mutations associated with autism in 88 families from the Middle East, Turkey and Pakistan in which cousins married and had children with the disorder.

“The emerging picture of the genetics of autism is quite surprising. There appear to be many separate mutations involved, with each family having a different genetic cause,” explained NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D. “The one unifying observation from this new report is that all of the relevant mutations could disrupt the formation of vital neural connections during a critical period when experience is shaping the developing brain.”

Earlier studies had suggested that the individually rare mutations are present in at least 10 percent of sporadic cases of autism, which is the most common form.

The researchers used a technique that pinpoints from a relatively small group of families genes responsible for disorders that can be amplified by parenthood among relatives, which can increase transmission of recessive diseases. Evidence had hinted at such transmission in autism, and the large amount of genetic information obtainable from such families reduced the need for a much larger sample including many families with multiple affected members.

The ratio of females to males with autism — normally one female to four males — was less lopsided in such families in which parents share a common recent ancestor. This ratio equalized even more in a subset of these families with more than one affected member, suggesting a doubling of the rate of autism, due to recessive causes on non-sex-linked chromosomes. Also, autism-linked spontaneous deletions and duplications of genetic material were relatively uncommon in these families, suggesting recessive inherited causes.

The researchers found multiple different genetic causes of autism in different individuals with little overlap between the families in which parents shared ancestry. Yet a few large inherited autism-linked deletions, likely mutations, in a minority of families stood out. The largest turned out to be in or near genes regulated, directly or indirectly, by neuronal activity.

“Autism symptoms emerge at an age when the developing brain is refining the connections between neurons in response to a child’s experience,” explained Walsh. “Whether or not certain important genes turn on is thus dependent on experience-triggered neural activity. Disruption of this refinement process may be a common mechanism of autism-associated mutations.”

Can normal function be revived?

Interestingly, only one chromosome deletion found in the Middle Eastern families actually removed a gene — in most cases, what was lost was a region adjacent to the gene that contains its “on/off” switches. This has important implications for therapy, because it suggests that autism mutations don’t always remove a gene altogether, but only inhibit its activity in certain contexts, says Eric Morrow, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, who is co-first author of the paper with Seung-Yun Yoo, PhD. “This means that we would not need to replace the gene, if we could only figure out how to reactivate it, perhaps with medications,” says Morrow, who also holds appointments at BIDMC and Children’s.

The findings also support the use of behavioral therapies in autism, which expose children to a rich environment and highly repetitive activities that may help turn on the genes and strengthen synaptic connections, Morrow adds.

The study was also supported in part by the NIH’s National Center for Research Resources, National Human Genome Research Institute, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child and Human Development, and the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke.



Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Yorker’s Stand Up for Vaccine Exemptions

December 21, 2008...9:34 am
New Yorker’s Stand Up for Vaccine Exemptions

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Barbara Loe Fisher, National Vaccine Information Center
via email …..
In the harbor of New York City stands the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom that has welcomed millions of immigrants for 112 years, half of the time that the United States of America has been a nation. And on the base of the statue is an inscription that says in part “…..Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….”

I remembered that phrase when we were driving from Washington, D.C. to New York City and our van got caught up in the Sunday afternoon Manhattan traffic that led us past the Empire State Building on our way to Long Island. Freedom was very much on my mind as we headed for Stony Brook University to participate in the December 15 Vaccine Education Roundtable sponsored by New York state Assemblymen Marc Alessi (D-1st Assembly District) and Richard Gottfried (D-75th Assembly District), who is Chair of the House Health Committee.

Americans have always cherished the freedom to breathe free; to speak, write and dissent without fear of retribution; to believe in God and worship freely without being persecuted; to vote for whom we want to represent us in government and know our vote counts; to follow our conscience and stand up for what is right. Although America is only 222 years old, which is very young compared to other countries that have existed for several thousands of years, during our short history there is no other nation that has defined and defended the freedom of citizens to live in a society based on the principle of equal rights and consent of the governed any better than the United States of America.

These are troubled times for parents in New York and New Jersey and other states. Every day parents are facing more hostility from pediatricians throwing them out of doctor’s offices for questioning vaccine safety and are being harassed by government officials determined to force their children to get dozens of doses of state mandated vaccines without voluntary, informed consent. New York currently mandates more than two dozen doses of 11 vaccines for school attendance while New Jersey leads the nation with nearly three dozen doses of 13 vaccines, including annual influenza shots.

Religious exemptions are being pulled by state officials after they throw parents into rooms and grill them for hours about the sincerity of their religious beliefs. Last year in Maryland, state officials threatened several thousand parents with jail time and stiff fines for failing to show proof their children had gotten hepatitis B and chickenpox vaccinations.

It is in this climate of fear and crisis of trust between parents, who want a more equal role in making vaccination decisions for their children, and pediatricians and public health officials, who are determined to strengthen their power to tell parents what to do, that Assemblymen Alessi assembled a panel representing both sides to discuss whether or not a philosophical exemption to vaccination should be added to New York’s vaccine laws. Currently New York only provides for a medical and religious exemption, even as 18 other states allow a personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination.

After the Roundtable, Assemblyman Gottfried expressed strong support for First Amendment rights and told the audience of parents, doctors and legislative staff that he is sponsoring two bills to clarify rights defined under existing religious and medical exemptions so they cannot be violated by state officials. After the Roundtable concluded, he said “Important issues were raised. I look forward to seeing additional data from all sides, especially about the impact of the personal objection laws in other states. I will be reintroducing my bills to strengthen the religious and medical exemptions in the 2009 session. I urge parents to contact their local assembly members and state senators to urge them to co-sponsor.”

Assemblyman Alessi commented that “The discussion framed the fact that there is still a large debate on the issue. And although some people in the medical community are adamant that this debate is over, it has only just begun. The amount of conflicting evidence parents are presented with regarding the effects of certain vaccines is staggering. This forum opened the lines of communication between experts in the debate and provided concerned parents with the most recent information on the safety of vaccines. As a parent, I know how difficult it is to make the right decisions regarding our children’s health, but if we are to make good decisions, we need to be well informed and continue to have discussions like this roundtable.”

At the beginning of the Roundtable, I framed the vaccine safety and informed consent debate and outlined how the informed consent principle relates to philosophical/conscientious belief exemption. I reviewed the general health ranking of New York (25th) compared to the 18 states which have philosophical exemptions (six of the top 10 ranked states have philosophical exemption) and noted that the U.S. uses more vaccines than any nation in the world but ranks 39th in infant mortality. Click here to read my entire presentation with live links to references (see text below).

Other panelists supporting philosophical exemption to vaccination included New York pediatrician Lawrence Palevsky, M.D. , who called for an authentic dialogue that “moves past what appears to a growing number of citizens to be a one-sided, paternalistic, and patronizing set of policies and language with an unwillingness to engage in a real discussion about the science of vaccines.” He challenged many of the myths and misconceptions about the safety and effectiveness of vaccine policies.

New York’s John Gilmore, executive director of Autism United, who has a vaccine injured son with autism and said “without trust, the proponents of forced vaccination have nothing but authority and authority is an unacceptable basis for any public policy in a democratic society.” He pointed out operational flaws and conflicts of interest in vaccine safety regulation and policymaking. Louise Kuo Habakus, of the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice, who has two young sons recovering from vaccine injuries, presented slides summarizing vaccine risks and questioning whether vaccines can be credited with major infectious disease morbidity and mortality decreases in the 20th century. She recounted her impression of the day’s events at (In related events, New Jersey parents held several open houses this week to educate New Jersey legislators about the need to support pending conscientious belief exemption legislation in that state.)

Panelists defending current vaccine policies and opposing philosophical exemptions included New York pediatricians Paul Lee, M.D. , who agreed vaccine safety should be a high priority but disagreed that the amount of mercury and aluminum in vaccines posed a health risk; and longtime vaccine policymaker and American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson Louis Z. Cooper, M.D. , who agreed trust between pediatricians and parents needs to be strengthened but defended the safety of existing vaccine policies; and Debra Blog, M.D. , medical director of the Immunization Program, New York State Department of Health, who showed slides of children with infectious diseases and strongly opposed adding philosophical exemption to New York state vaccine laws.

Following panelist presentations there was a spirited debate that lasted for more than two hours as panelists argued and defended their positions. NVIC’s videographer, Chris Fisher, will be making a video of the day’s events available on NVIC’s website.

By the end of the day, I thought about how long parents of vaccine injured children have been asking pediatricians to become partners with them in preventing vaccine injuries and deaths. After nearly three decades, parents and doctors inside and outside of government could not be further apart. The failure of pediatricians and public health officials to take seriously the many cases of regression into poor health after vaccination has become the Number One public health problem in the U.S. today.

There will be no resolution until every state has embraced the informed consent ethic and adopted conscientious or philosophical exemption to vaccination in state vaccine laws. At that point, Americans will be free to vote with their feet and the vaccines the public considers to be necessary, safe and effective will be used and those they do not consider to be necessary, safe and effective will be driven off the market. And then, a real time comparison of the long term health of highly vaccinated, less vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens will tell us a lot about the safety and effectiveness of vaccine policies in the last half of the 20th and first half of the 21st centuries.

Statement of Barbara Loe Fisher
Co-founder & President, National Vaccine Information Center
December 15, 2008 at New York Stony Brook University
Vaccine Education Roundtable
Assemblyman Alessi and NY State Legislators:

Thank you for holding this Vaccine Education Roundtable to discuss issues which impact on Assembly Bill 5468 to insert philosophical exemption in New York vaccine laws. I appreciate the invitation to be part of this panel on behalf of New York members of the National Vaccine Information Center, non-profit organization founded in 1982 to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defend the informed consent ethic.

Vaccination is a medical intervention performed on a healthy person which carries an inherent risk of injury or death. The risk of harm can be greater for some than others and there is no guarantee that vaccination will, in fact, confer immunity. With very few predictors having been identified by medical science to give advance warning that harm or failure to confer immunity will occur, vaccination is a medical procedure that could reasonably be termed as experimental each time it is performed on a healthy individual.

Further, the FDA, CDC and vaccine makers openly state that often the numbers of human subjects used in pre-licensing studies are too small to detect all adverse events caused by a new vaccine. This makes government recommended use of newly licensed vaccines by millions of children a de facto uncontrolled national scientific experiment. In this regard, the ethical principle of informed consent to vaccination attains even greater significance.

Informed consent means that a patient or guardian has the right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of a medical procedure and be allowed to make an informed, voluntary decision about whether or not to take the risk. Informed consent is an important check and balance for the relationship between physicians and patients that encourages physicians to obey the Hippocratic oath to “first, do no harm.”

The affirmation of the informed consent ethic in the practice of modern medicine is rooted in a rejection of the traditional paternalistic medical model, which places the patient or guardian in an unequal, powerless position with a physician and facilitates uninformed, involuntary risk taking. The human right for individuals to exercise informed consent to participating in scientific experiments was officially acknowledged by the judges of the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II. Their ringing endorsement of individual inviolability and the right to self determination when taking medical risks has became an internationally accepted moral guidepost for the ethical practice of modern medicine. The first principle of the Nuremberg Code begins with:

“The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.”

In America, the closest we come to upholding the informed consent principle with regard to vaccination is in the 18 states which allow personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination. In the 2008 edition of America’s Health Rankings, Vermont is ranked the number one healthiest state. Vermont allows philosophical exemption to vaccination. In fact, out of the top ten ranked healthiest states, six of them allow philosophical exemption (Vermont, Minnesota, Utah, Idaho, Maine, Washington).

New York ranks 25th in health behind the nation’s most populous state, California. The state of California has twice as many residents as New York, as well as more foreign born residents and those who speak English as a second language. However, in almost all other demographics, California is nearly identical to New York in ethnic diversity; numbers of children under age 18; median household income and persons living below poverty.

California allows philosophical exemption to vaccination.

What is interesting is that in the top 10 healthiest states, four had among the lowest vaccination rates for children ages 19 to 35 months: Utah (37th) , Idaho (45th), Maine (40th) and Washington (48th). California which is ahead of New York in overall health ranking, is 31st in vaccination coverage of 19 to 35 month olds while New York is number 9. The healthiest state, Vermont, is 29th in vaccination coverage.

In fact, health is not primarily measured by high vaccination rates or an absence of infectious disease. High vaccination rates are not the most important measure of the overall health of citizens. The 18 states allowing philosophical exemption to vaccination have not compromised individual or public health when compared to other states.

This past September, the CDC announced that national childhood vaccination rates are at near record levels, with at least 90 percent of young children receiving all but one CDC recommended vaccine. Less than 1 percent of children aged 19 to 35 months remain completely unvaccinated.

Today, the U.S. government recommends the use of more vaccines than any other country in the world: 69 doses of 16 vaccines for girls; 66 doses of 15 vaccines for boys given between the day of birth and age 18. That is triple the numbers of vaccinations recommended by public health officials and physician organizations a quarter century ago, when 23 doses of seven vaccines (DPT, MMR, OPV) were routinely given.

But in comparison to other nations, the overall health of Americans has not improved since 2004 and there are 27 countries that exceed the US in healthy life expectancy while the U.S. ranks 39th in infant mortality.

Today, 1 in every 143 babies born in America dies; 1 child in 450 becomes diabetic; 1 in 150 develops autism;1 in 9 suffers with asthma; and 1 in every 6 child is learning disabled.

The chronic disease and disability epidemic that has developed in the last quarter century is killing and injuring more children than any infectious disease epidemic in the history of our nation, including smallpox and polio. The social, economic, and human costs are enormous: nearly two billion dollars has been paid to vaccine victims by the federal government in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program while three-quarters of the more than $2 trillion dollar annual price tag for health care is spent to care for the chronically ill and disabled.

The big question vaccine educated parents are asking is: why are so many of the most highly vaccinated children in the world so sick, suffering with all kinds of chronic brain and immune system dysfunction? Why are babies born in the richest country in the world dying more often than babies born in poorer countries, who do not get vaccinated at all or who get far fewer vaccines?

It is a question that has not been answered by any scientific study conducted to date because there has never been a large, prospective study comparing the long term health of highly vaccinated children to unvaccinated children. In the absence of definitive answers, the right to freely exercise medical, religious and philosophical exemption to vaccination is a human right that may well determine the biological integrity of this and future generations in America.

Because vaccines are pharmaceutical products that carry significant risks greater for some than others; because doctors and public health officials are not infallible; because what is considered scientific truth today can be proven false tomorrow; because philosophical exemption to vaccination does not negatively impact on the health of individuals or states; and because informed consent to medical risk taking is a human right, the National Vaccine Information Center urges legislators to affirm the freedom of all New Yorkers to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions for themselves and their children by supporting philosophical exemption to vaccination.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Posted 5/17/2004 Men have biological clocks, too

Posted 5/17/2004 1:57 PM

Men have biological clocks, too
By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay
For years, women of a certain age — say, 35 and older — have listened anxiously to the ticking of their biological clocks, mindful that with each passing birthday their fertility was decreasing and their chances of producing a baby with a birth defect was increasing.
Now, it's the guys' turn to pay attention to their own biological clocks.

While fertility doesn't decrease as dramatically as for a woman, a man does have a biological clock, experts say. But these scientists disagree on exactly when the alarm sounds.

In general, "there's a decline in testosterone of about 1% per year for men after age 30," said Dr. Harry Fisch, director of the Male Reproductive Center at Columbia University in New York City. But it's difficult to pinpoint which men will have trouble conceiving a child with a birth defect based on age, he said. "The problem is the biological clock ticks at different speeds for different men," he explained.

While Fisch encourages men who want to be fathers to do so "sooner rather than later," another fertility expert contends there's not a big rush. The loud ticking of the clock doesn't usually begin until a man is in his 50s, said Dr. Larry Lipshultz, chairman of the American Urological Association's Council on Reproductive Health.

"As a man gets over 50, his sperm count decreases statistically but not clinically significantly," Lipshultz said. In other words, a test could detect the decline, but a man could still easily become a father.

"Men will always make sperm," Lipshultz added. "In that sense, there is not the same biological clock" as for women, who have no more eggs left by menopause.

The notion that men have a biological clock isn't entirely new, as a medical perspective article published in the April 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association noted.

As early as 1912, a doctor named Wilhelm Weinberg found an inherited skeletal disorder called achondroplasia occurred more often in younger siblings than older ones, suggesting that as men aged, the probability of passing on the disorder increased.

And in recent years, several studies have uncovered some other risks linked to late fatherhood.

For instance, Fisch and his colleagues looked at more than 3,400 cases of Down syndrome, a congenital defect caused by an extra chromosome that results in mental and physical abnormalities. They found the father's age played a role if the woman and the man were both over 35 when conceiving.

The effect was most pronounced when the woman was over 40, Fisch found. In those cases, "we found the incidence of Down syndrome is approximately 50% related to sperm," Fisch said. His research appeared in the June 2003 issue of The Journal of Urology.

Another study, published in 2001 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found the risk of schizophrenia in children was associated with older paternal age. For instance, children of fathers over 50 were almost three times more likely to have schizophrenia than children born to the youngest fathers, the research found. The database included nearly 90,000 people.

Approximately 20 different disorders are now correlated with a father's age, according to the April 14 perspective piece in JAMA.

Another study, published in June 2003 in Fertility and Sterility, found it takes up to five times longer for a man over 45 to get a woman pregnant than if he is under 25.

As men age, Fisch said, "their sperm are more at risk of not just [having] genetic problems but of decreased ability to fertilize the egg."

"As you age, you will have worse sperm and more genetic abnormalities," Fisch said. "If you want to have kids, have them sooner."

But with people who marry later in life, hoping to achieve career and financial stability before starting a family, Fisch knows early fatherhood isn't always that easy.

If fatherhood has to be delayed, Fisch advises men to stay in as good physical shape as possible.

Lipshultz offers men a bit more latitude. "The studies I have seen put the cutoff in the 50s for significant increases in the chances of genetic defects," he said.

The healthiest time for a man to conceive? "I would think before 50, but that's my own personal experience," based on his work with patients, Lipshultz said.

For a man, Lipshultz said, "the clock never stops. It just slows down."

More information

To learn more about the male biological clock, visit the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

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« Dr. Bob Sears: Smart Vaccine Decisions for Families with Autism Age of Autism

From:Age of Autism
« Dr. Bob Sears: Smart Vaccine Decisions for Families with Autism

December 20, 2008
New Clues to Who Is Susceptible to Autism Via Vaccine Injury
(Editor's Note: This post and the following one by Dr. Bob Sears should give parents, and prospective parents, of young children the tools they need to make smarter choices about vaccines. We appreciate Scott Laster's original and important analysis of the risk of autism from vaccines based on family history, and Dr. Sears' suggestions about vaccinating a child with autism and their siblings, as well as an alternative vaccine schedule for every family to consider. We hope our readers will share this potentially life-altering information far and wide. If you want to give prospective parents or those with infants a holiday present, send them this important new analysis. It could prevent new cases of autism NOW, not in 20 years when the medical establishment gets around to acknowledging the evidence Scott lays out so clearly here.-- Dan Olmsted.)

By Scott Laster

A study titled "Familial Risk Factors in Autism" by Brimacombe et al was published in 2007 in the Journal of Child Neurology. The results of this study may have implications on the current debate over philosophical exemptions in New Jersey, and may yield important clues on how future public health policy might identify sub-groups that are susceptible to vaccine injury.

In this study, family histories were examined in a cohort of 164 autistic children referred to The Autism Center at New Jersey Medical School-University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark over a 2-year period (2001-2003). The study found that a family medical history of certain illnesses was prevalent at significantly higher rates in the autism cohort versus the general population, such as thyroid disorders (20.8% in autism cohort vs 1.6% in general population), rheumatoid arthritis (10.4% vs < 1%), epilepsy (5.6% vs < 1%), and diabetes (23.2% vs 6.3%). The average age of the autism cohort studied during this 2001-2003 period was 6.6 years.

This study did not define autism prevalence rates in New Jersey for sub-populations with each specific family medical history. However with the autism prevalence data from the CDC for the state of New Jersey for the 1994 birth cohort (MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries February 9, 2007), calculations can be performed on this data to approximate the "risk of autism" for children in New Jersey born with certain family medical histories.

Disclaimer: the following calculations are mine only, and have not been vetted with the authors of the "Familial Risk Factors in Autism" study. As a further disclaimer, there is nothing in the "Familial Risk Factors in Autism" study which refers to vaccines or indicates in any manner that the authors think that vaccines might be a causal factor in autism (on the contrary, the authors write that "… This work supports the underlying presence of genetic factors in the etiology of autism.")

Per the CDC autism prevalence data, the 1994 birth cohort in New Jersey had a 1 in 94 risk of developing autism. In the following table, I calculated the risk of a child developing autism if born in that 1994 New Jersey cohort with certain family medical histories. A child born to family with a history of thyroid disorders had a 1 in 7 risk of autism (over 13 times higher than the risk of autism in the general population). For rheumatoid arthritis, the autism risk was at least 1 in 8 and potentially higher (as with some illnesses as noted in the table, the data on general population prevalence in the "Familial Risk Factors in Autism" was insufficient to determine if autism risk was higher than 1 in 8). For epilepsy the risk was at least 1 in 15 (or higher); for diabetes, the autism risk was 1 in 26. (Click on the graphic to enlarge it please.)

Notes on these calculations: Although it is plausible that a child whose family medical history included multiple of these illnesses would have an autism risk higher than the autism risk from each individual illness, the "Familial Risk Factors in Autism" study did not evaluate such combinations. Similarly although it is plausible that a boy with family medical history of thyroid disorders would have an autism risk even higher than the 1 in 7 shown in the table, the "Familial Risk Factors in Autism" study did not evaluate the risk of family medical history for boys versus girls. Thus to be conservative, I've not included any analysis of autism risk for boys versus girls or for family medical history with multiple illnesses in this table.

What are the potential lessons from this analytical exercise?

1. If vaccines contribute to autism in a susceptible sub-population, the public health challenge will be to determine how to identify the sub-groups that should utilize an alternative vaccination schedule or go without vaccines altogether (and thus rely upon the overall 'herd immunity' to protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases, as is already the policy for certain susceptible sub-populations). The absence of an answer on how to identify the susceptible sub-groups could be a major factor in the reluctance of the CDC to formally concede that vaccines may be linked to autism in a susceptible group of children. However, the "Familial Risk Factors in Autism" study provides clues as to the identity of the susceptible sub-groups, and further provides a method (clinical analysis of family medical history) to determine whether an individual child belongs to a susceptible sub-group.

2. The "Familial Risk Factors in Autism" did not study vaccines and does not provide any evidence (one way or the other) as to whether vaccines cause autism. However, it does provide evidence that New Jersey families with certain family medical histories have a far higher risk of a child developing autism. This research was recently published in 2007, and has not yet had time to be incorporated into public health policy such that susceptible New Jersey families could obtain a medical exemption based upon family medical history. Many New Jersey families, after much personal research, have concluded that there is a significant possibility that vaccines contribute to autism. Suppose that a New Jersey family with a family medical history of thyroid disorders knows that their child has a 1 in 7 chance of developing autism (based upon the above analysis of the "Familial Risk of Autism" study), and also has concluded that vaccines will further increase their child's risk of autism. Shouldn't such a family be allowed to have a philosophical exemption from vaccines?



Monday, December 15, 2008

- + Does a younger dad mean a healthier child?

EST, December 15, 2008 Toolbox

- + Does a younger dad mean a healthier child?
Medicine & Health / Health
New studies from Tel Aviv University suggest that waiting until a man can give his son "all the advantages" may have a disadvantage, too.

Tel Aviv University researchers found in several consecutive studies that older dads are more likely to have boys with autism and lower IQs. Most recently, they found that the older a father's age, the greater the chance that his son will display poor social abilities as a teen. Dr. Mark Weiser from TAU's Sackler School of Medicine and his team of researchers are now studying what causes this phenomenon.

"There is a growing body of data showing that an advanced age of parents puts their kids at risk for various illnesses," says Dr. Weiser. "Some illnesses, such as schizophrenia, appear to be more common the older parents get. Doctors and psychologists are fascinated by this, but don't really understand it. We want to know how it works."

Questions and Answers

To explore this important question, Dr. Weiser looked at data collected by the Israeli army. Subjects included more than 450,000 male teens, aged 16 and 17. The teens were asked these questions: How many good friends do you have? Do you have a girlfriend? Do you generally prefer to be with or without a group of friends? How often do you go out on Friday evenings? Do you tend to be at the center of a party?

Controlling for the variables of IQ, mother's age, socioeconomic status and birth order, the researchers found that the prevalence of poor social functioning increased by 50% in boys with fathers 45 years old and up.

Cause for Concern?

Dr. Weiser, who also works at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer hospital, cautions that the results are far from conclusive. "It could be that men with poorer social skills get married later in life, and therefore transmit this characteristic to their boys. But our studies attempted to control for this variable by looking at brothers from the same father," he explains.

He also suggests that older men shouldn't change their minds about having children since the statistical risk is relatively minor. "The effects of a father's age on the health of his son are quite small, and many of the most dramatic effects in this study are driven by dads in their 50s," says Dr. Weiser. "The difference in risk between someone who is 35 or 45 is so small that it's irrelevant."

Dr. Weiser continues, "But the findings are interesting for clinicians who are looking at the bigger picture of how parental age affects the mental functioning of offspring and what mechanisms are at play in that functioning." And Dr. Weiser doesn't rule out the possibility that older fathers may have better resources for getting their boys tested for autism when symptoms arise.

Published in Oxford Journal's Schizophrenia Bulletin, the study builds on Dr. Weiser's previous research on parental age, autism and IQ scores.

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University


50 Reasons to Protect Infants from Vaccines:

Below from Unconventional-Medicine.


- Jagannath Chatterjee.
(Fighting Vaccines Since 1985)

There is no scientific study to determine whether vaccines have really prevented diseases. Rather disease graphs show vaccines have been introduced at the fag end of epidemics when the disease was already in its last stages. In case of Small Pox the vaccine actually caused a great spurt in the incidence of disease before public outcry led to its withdrawal.

There are no long-term studies on vaccine safety. Very short-term tests are carried out where the vaccinated subjects are checked against another group who are given another vaccine. Technically the tests should be carried out against a non-vaccinated group. No one really knows what protocols are followed at such industry-sponsored trials.

There has never been any attempt to compare a vaccinated population against a non vaccinated population to know what vaccines are doing to the children and the society. Independent studies (Dutch & German) have revealed that vaccinated children suffer much more than their un-vaccinated counterparts.

The child receives not one but many vaccines. There are no tests to determine the effects of multiple vaccines.

There is no scientific basis for vaccinating infants. As per senior doctors quoted by the Times of India, "Children suffer from less that 2% of vaccine preventable illnesses but 98% of the vaccines are targeted towards them." The vaccine pioneers who have recommended abundant caution before vaccinating the population have never advocated mass vaccinations.

Children are vaccinated simply because parents can be frightened to forcefully vaccinate their children. Vaccinating infants is the most profitable business both for the manufacturers as well as the doctors.

Infants, who are advised ONLY mothers milk till the age of six months and beyond because their fragile system will not tolerate anything else are given 30 extremely toxic vaccine shots, an act that defies both logic and science.

The Government of India has come out with a quarter page advertisement in The Hindu warning parents not to vaccinate beyond the Government approved vaccines. Parents have been advised against vaccinating in private clinics and hospitals.

The Orissa Chapter of the Indian Association of Pediatricians has admitted in a letter to the CM, Orissa, that private clinics and hospitals are ill equipped to store vaccines and warned parents not to vaccinate upon the advise of private practitioners and hospitals.


Vaccines contain heavy metals, cancer causing substances, toxic chemicals, live and genetically modified viruses, contaminated serum containing animal viruses and foreign genetic material, extremely toxic de-contaminants and adjuvants, untested antibiotics, none of which can be injected without causing any harm.

The mercury, aluminum and live viruses in vaccines imay be behind the huge epidemic of autism (1 in 10 worldwide as per doctors in the USA), a fact that (vaccines cause autism) has been admitted by the US Vaccine Court.

The CDC of USA, the vaccine watchdog, has publicly admitted that its much-publicized 2003 study denying any link between vaccines and autism, is flawed. The Chief of CDC Dr Gerberding has confessed to the media (CNN) that vaccines can cause "autism like symptoms". The Autism epidemic is found only in those countries that have allowed mass vaccinations.

In the year 1999, the US Government instructed vaccine manufacturers to remove mercury from vaccines "with immediate effect". But mercury still remains a part of many vaccines. The vaccines with mercury were never recalled and were given to children up to the year 2006. "Mercury free" vaccines contain 1.00mcg of mercury, enough to permanently damage a infant.


In a reply to then President Sri Abdul Kalam, the Health Ministry informed, "mercury is required to make the vaccines safe". To the author's query that "what are these vaccines that it requires the second most dangerous neurotoxin, mercury, to make them safe?", there was no reply.

Mercury used in vaccines is second in toxicity only to the radioactive substance, Uranium. It is a neurotoxin that can damage the entire nervous system of the infant in no time.

Mercury accumulates in fat. The brain being made entirely of fat cells, most of the mercury accumulates there giving rise to the peculiar symptoms of the autistic children.

The mercury used in vaccines is ethyl mercury. According to Indian doctors this is an industrial toxin and is 1000 times more toxic than the usual methyl mercury.

The aluminum present in vaccines makes the mercury, in any form, 100 times more toxic.
As per an independent study aluminum and formaldehyde present in vaccines can increase the toxicity of mercury, in any form, by 1000 times.

As per a Tehelka article on Autism, if one considers the WHO limit for mercury in water, they are receiving 50,000 times the limit. The limits set, incidentally, are for adults and not infants.

Autism in India has emerged as the most rapidly growing epidemic amongst children. As per a private study done by doctors in New Delhi, from 1 in 500 it has steadily climbed to 1 in 37 today. As per Indian doctors, "You can go to any class of any school today and find an autistic child."

Autism is a permanent disability that affects the child physically, mentally and emotionally. It makes the child loose social contact. It impedes both the physical and mental growth of the child. It destroys the brain causing severe memory and attention problems.

According to vaccine researcher Dr Harris Coulter, vaccines cause children to become pervert and criminal. Majority the school shootings by the children in the USA have been committed by autistic children. Vaccines can cause more harm that even the medical community privately acknowledges.

Autistic children also suffer from severe bowel disorders.. As per Dr Andrew Wakefield, this is due to the vaccine strain live measles virus in the MMR vaccine. Nearly all children become fully autistic after the MMR shot.

The DPT also causes children to regress giving rise to fears that multiple live virus vaccines are an important cause behind autism. If three live viruses can cause so much harm we can well imagine what today’s five and seven viruses vaccines will do to children.

Before the autism epidemic, it was already well known that vaccines have caused the cancer epidemic in today’s society. Both the Small Pox and the Oral Polio Vaccine are made from monkey serum. This serum has helped many cancer causing monkey viruses, 60 found so far (SV 1 to SV60), to enter the human blood stream. As per recent revelations these viruses continue to be in the vaccines.

It is also known that it is the use of green monkey serum in vaccines that has led to the transfer of the Simian Immune deficiency Virus (SIV) from monkeys into humans. The SIV and the HIV that causes AIDS are very similar.

Not only AIDS, a blood cancer in infants (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) that is affecting children in thousands is also primarily due to the extremely toxic nature of vaccine ingredients.

Infantile jaundice and also infantile diabetes is also scientifically connected to the toxic vaccines.
The live polio viruses used in the Oral Polio Vaccine has caused Vaccine Attributed Paralytic Polio in more than 65,000 children (up to the year 2006) as per doctors of the Indian Medical Association. The OPV has also let loose a new strain of polio in both India and Africa. The OPV is banned in the USA & European countries.

Vaccines contain serum from not only chimpanzees and monkeys but also from cows, pigs, chickens, eggs, horses, and even human serum and tissues extracted from aborted fetuses.

Deaths and permanent disability from vaccines is very common and known by the medical community. They are instructed by the Government to keep quiet and not to associate such cases with vaccines.

Many doctors argue that diseases during childhood are due to the body exercising its immune system. Suppressing these diseases causes the immune system to remain undeveloped causing the various autoimmune disorders like diabetes and arthritis that have become epidemics today.

Vaccines suppress the natural immunity and the body does not have natural antibodies anymore. The mothers milk therefore does not contain natural antibodies and can no longer protect the child against illnesses.

By stimulating humoral (blood related) immunity alone vaccines have caused an imbalance in the whole immune set up leading to an alarming increase in auto immune disorders. This is acknowledged by the immunologists themselves.
In the USA vaccine adverse effects are recorded and the Government offers compensation of millions of dollars to victims (the most recent case in its Vaccine Court may have received upto $200 million in damages). The Indian Government simply refuses to acknowledge that vaccines can cause deaths and permanent disability.

It has been scientifically proven that vaccines cannot prevent disease. Vaccines try to create humoral (blood related immunity) whereas it has been found that immunity is developed at various levels, humoral as well as cellular. We still do not know enough about the human immune system and therefore should not interfere with it.

In the USA parents are informed about vaccine after effects and their consent has to be taken before vaccinating their children. In India the Government assures the population through massive advertising campaigns that vaccines are extremely safe. Parents refusing to vaccinate are threatened by the administration.

THERE IS NO SYSTEM OF TREATMENT TO TREAT A VACCINE DAMAGED CHILD. The parents have to run from one hospital to another. The Government turns a blind eye and refuses to even acknowledge the vaccine connection..

Senior medical doctors have challenged even the vaccines recommended by the Government of India. The BCG vaccine for tuberculosis has been extensively tested in India as long back as 1961 and found to be totally ineffective. The OPV is causing polio and other neurological and intestinal disorders in tens of thousands of Indian children. The Hep-B vaccine introduced recently is not meant for children at all, it is a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease that should be targeted only at promiscuous adults. The tetanus vaccine contains both aluminum and mercury besides the tetanus toxoid. The doctors themselves avoid giving the DPT to their children and relatives as it is one of the most toxic vaccines ever devised. The measles vaccine is a vaccine that regularly causes severe adverse effects and the health workers want it out.

The pediatricians are introducing dubious vaccines in India, which are being opposed by the doctors, politicians, and public in American and European countries. The Rotavirus vaccine, Hib vaccine, HPV vaccine and the various multi virus vaccines being introduced without any kind of testing is only because the vaccine manufacturers and the doctors administering them want to ensure a good income from them. They care two hoots about medical ethics and the fate of the children who will receive these vaccines. Vaccines containing nano particles and viruses and also plant based genetically modified vaccines are being opposed by honest doctors worldwide.

Various independent studies, notably the Dutch and the more recent German study, comparing vaccinated with unvaccinated children have found that vaccinated children are prone to asthma, dermatitis, allergies, hyperactivity etc. The death rate amongst vaccinated children is much more than the unvaccinated ones.

Vaccines, being a mass medical program which is accepted without question, becomes the perfect launching pad for bioterrorism. The powerful countries can spread lethal epidemics by just polluting the vaccines with bio warfare agents. The USA has handed over vaccine research to a bioterrorism research unit called the BARDA which functions under the Pentagon. A warning to this effect has been sounded by the Vice President IAP in a letter to the DGHS.

Besides "investigating" into the small pox virus, it is reported that a "weapons grade" bird flu vaccine has already been devised by the Pentagon to be used as biowarfare agents.

Vaccines have also been used to ensure population control.. The tetanus vaccine has been used in many Asian countries to make the female population sterile. This was done by introducing a hormone that by inducing antibodies would abort the foetus when it is formed. In India, Saheli, a NGO fighting for the rights of women filed a PIL against this when the fact surfaced.

Mercury, a part of vaccines, is known to interfere with the endocrine system and induce sterility in both males and females.

Through a new Public Health Bill that is being drafted the Government of India is planning to introduce forced vaccinations and threaten anti-vaccination activists with steep fines and jail terms. This is obviously at the instance of foreign (read US) vaccine giants who are shifting base to India reeling at the tremendous opposition to vaccines in US and European countries. The Govt of India is planning a "vaccine park" at Chennai where these vaccine MNCs will set up base. This itself is an act of bioterrorism which ironically the proposed bill seeks to oppose.

As per the IOM, USA, vaccine research for a probable link between vaccines and autism should not be conducted. The Institute of Medicine in its last report on vaccines and autism in 2004 said that more research on the vaccine question is counterproductive: Finding a susceptibility to this risk in some infants would call into question the universal vaccination strategy that is a bedrock of immunization programs and could lead to widespread rejection of vaccines. The IOM concluded that efforts to find a link between vaccines and autism "must be balanced against the broader benefit of the current vaccine program for all children. What does this add up to? Infants should be sacrificed in order to perpetuate an unscientific procedure?

The above points are not exhaustive. For a more detailed article please write to me at


Edge on Autism Autism's Mysterious Increase

Edge on Autism

Autism's Mysterious Increase
Neal Rauhauser December 15th 2008

Cutting Edge Sci-Tech Writer

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Older parental age may boost autism risk - study
Lifestyle News : News-Lifestyle
Older parental age may boost autism risk - study
Mon, 15 Dec 2008 11:02a.m.
Advanced parental age, of both the mother and father, may boost the risk of autism in their children, according to new study.

"What we found was that actually it's both parents age, and when you control for one parent's age you still see the effect of the other parent's age, and vice versa," said Dr. Maureen Durkin of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, may offer clues to understanding the causes of autism but Durkin and her team said they shouldn't be used to guide family planning decisions.

Even though the oldest child born to two older parents is three times as likely to be autistic than a middle or youngest child with younger parents, she explained, there's still a 97 percent chance that the higher-risk child will be perfectly fine.

"The vast majority of children don't develop autism," Durkin emphasized.

Several studies have suggested links between a father's age or the age of both parents and a child's likelihood of having autism. The latest research included twice as many autism cases as other studies.

The researchers looked at 253,347 children born in 1994 at 10 sites included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. There were 1,251 children who met standard criteria for an autism spectrum disorder at age 8 for whom information on both parents' age was available.

After the researchers accounted for factors that might influence the results, they found that children born to mothers aged 35 and older were 30 percent more likely than those whose mothers were 25 to 29 years old to have been diagnosed with autism. Having a father who was 40 or older boosted risk by 40 percent.

The effects of parental age were additive; firstborn kids with two older parents were at more than triple the risk of autism compared to third or later children born to mothers 20 to 34 years old and fathers under 40.

Past studies have suggested that more educated mothers are more likely to have autistic kids, but Durkin and her team found this was because these women were older than less educated women, not because they had more years of schooling.

There are several possible explanations for why older moms and dads are at greater risk of having autistic children, the researchers said. Older parents have had a longer time to sustain genetic damage to their sperm or egg cells, as well as to store up environmental contaminants in their bodies.

They are also more likely to have used assisted reproduction technologies, which have been tied to poor pregnancy outcomes. And there could be something about the behavioral traits or psychological makeup of people who wait to have children that boosts autism risk in their offspring.

The findings could also help explain why autism appears to be on the rise in the United States, the researchers added, since the percentage of children who are born to mothers 35 and older and fathers 40 and older has risen steadily since 1980.



Saturday, December 13, 2008

How new study about fertility risk for men over 35 woke me up to my own biological timebomb

How new study about fertility risk for men over 35 woke me up to my own biological timebomb
By Nic Fleming
Last updated at 9:58 PM on 13th December 2008
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While I have always said I want children, I have rarely felt in a rush to do anything about it.
The joys of nappy changing, parents’ evenings and Center Parc holidays have yet to entice me, at the age of 37, to join the ranks of new fathers among my friends who are increasingly absent from trips to the football and nights in playing Grand Theft Auto on the Xbox.
But my state of responsibility-free bliss has been undermined by a study published in July by French researcher Dr Stephanie Belloc.
Decision time: Author Nic Fleming with his fiancee Linda Geddes

Analysing the records of 12,000 couples who attended her fertility clinic in Paris, she found that women whose husbands or boyfriends were aged 35 and above were more likely to have miscarriages than those with younger partners.
Her findings back up a study by Bristol University that found women with partners aged 35 and over were half as likely as those with men aged 24 and younger to conceive within a year.

Sir Paul McCartney, who became a father at 61, and John Humphrys, who did so at 56, are the exceptions, not the rule.
In another study, published two years ago, it was also found that the offspring of men aged 40 and over were nearly six times more likely to suffer from autism than those with fathers under 30.

Other research has found that men aged 50 and over are more likely to have children with Down’s syndrome, or who may develop schizophrenia.
‘I think a man who wants children who has reached 35 should get a move on,’ says Christopher Barratt, professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Dundee.

‘People say I’m not in the right relationship, I haven’t got enough money, or the car isn’t big enough.
‘In reality, you have never quite got what you want. It’s hard to beat biology, and increasingly we are seeing that applies to men as well.’
My fiancee Linda recently turned 30. She enjoys her job as a science journalist, and we have no immediate plans to start a family.

However, I’m starting to wonder whether it is my biological clock rather than hers we should keep track of, which explains how I came to make an appointment to have my semen analysed at Andrology Solutions private fertility clinic in London.
‘In the past it was only women who had maybe focused on their careers - and did not have a partner - who worried about leaving it too late to start a family,’ says Dr Sheryl Homa, the clinic’s scientific director, when I returned two weeks later for my results.
‘But now we’re seeing more men who want to have children but who are not in a relationship and are concerned that time is slipping by.’
Semen analysis involves measuring sperm count, motility - or how lively it is - and its morphology or shape.

Some research suggests older men have semen that contains less sperm, and that their sperm is more likely to be sluggish and abnormally shaped.

However, other studies have failed to detect these effects.
‘Even if semen quality declines with age, it would have to do so a lot before there’s an impact on the ability of a man to conceive,’ says Allan Pacey, a senior lecturer in andrology at Sheffield University.
Dr Homa said my count was high and motility was good. In most men, about 80 per cent of sperm cells have abnormalities that mean they have less chance of fertilising an egg.

I have a slightly higher number of such abnormalities.

No one knows why - it could be genetic or it could be down to diet. I am lucky as the effects are balanced out by my high count.
On average, 84 per cent of couples conceive naturally within a year if they have sex regularly without contraception.

National guidelines state that GPs should refer couples for tests, including semen analysis, after a year of unsuccessfully trying to conceive.

A man who is simply curious, such as me, has to pay about £75 for a test at a private clinic.
Some scientists believe higher levels of damage in sperm DNA could play an important role in undermining fertility in older men.

In the constant production of sperm cells, a single cell called a gametocyte divides into two, each ‘half’ becoming a new sperm.
During this process - meiosis --genetic material is divided and abnormalities can occur, rendering the new cells unviable.

The older men become, the more likely this is to occur.

Exposure to heat, chemotherapy treatment, radiation, genital tract inflammation, and smoking can also cause DNA damage-Some private clinics offer DNA damage tests, but scientists disagree on which tests are the more accurate and what level of damage triggers infertility.

At £300, such tests are thought to be helpful only in certain specific circumstances.
Men trying for a baby are advised to minimise alcohol intake. The evidence on caffeine is mixed but experts recommend those having more than three drinks of coffee, tea or cola a day should cut back.
There are also links between poor sperm quality and smoking, tight underwear, recreational drugs, anabolic steroids and hot baths.
Folate, one of the B vitamins, is important to women before and during pregnancy.

It is found in foods such as broccoli, sprouts, asparagus, peas and brown rice. It is also believed to be good for sperm quality.
Zinc, contained in meat, shellfish, dairy foods, bread and cereal products, is found in high concentrations in sperm and is needed to make the outer layer and tail of sperm.
I’m in a pensive mood as I leave the clinic clutching my results. I watch a group of young children playing in a park.
Discovering, from the results, that I am able to reproduce is a relief.

Maybe it’s time to eat more greens, throw out the games console and think about putting my fertility to use while I still can.


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