AUTISM PREVENTION FATHER BABIES 24-34 PATERNAL AGE IS KEY IN NON-FAMILIAL AUTISMVaccines

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

Saturday, January 03, 2009

UW researcher finds link between age, birth order and autism

UW researcher finds link between age, birth order and autism
By Susanne Rust of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Jan. 3, 2009 10:48 p.m.

In the largest study of its kind, researchers have shown that the risk of autism increases for firstborn children and children of older parents.

The risk of a firstborn with an autism spectrum disorder triples after a mother turns 35 and a father reaches 40.

Although the study was not designed to uncover the cause of the disorder, the findings suggest avenues of research to explore, including the role of environmental toxins.

"Is this pure genetics? Or a toxic phenomenon?" said Darold Treffert, former president of the Wisconsin Medical Society, a psychiatrist at St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac and an expert in savant syndrome. Treffert was not involved in the study.

"I think we're bombarded with all sorts of stuff. And we know from experiences such as thalidomide that there are specific times during development of specific risks with specific chemicals. The problem is there is just so much out there."

Thalidomide was a drug taken by pregnant women in the 1950s and 1960s that caused severe birth defects in their children.

The autism study, led by University of Wisconsin-Madison epidemiologist Maureen Durkin, looked at more than 1,200 cases of autism, or 50% more than any previous study. The research team looked at more than 300,000 U.S. births.

The team found a 20% increase in the risk of autism with each 10-year increase in the parents' ages. Also, they found a couple's fourth child has half the risk of the first, regardless of the parents' ages.

Although debate exists about the prevalence of autism in the U.S. population and whether it is on the rise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the disorder appears in one in 150 births and is increasing.

Regardless of its prevalence, Durkin and Treffert say, the link between age and the risk of autism is not surprising. They pointed to several developmental disorders, including Down syndrome, for which risk rises as the parents' age increases.

Treffert said, "This a trend that I'm concerned about: The increase in developmental disorders in general and the rise in premature births," which are related to autism.

Durkin said the study shows there probably is an ideal window in which to have children - when parents are not too young or too old. But regardless of age, she said, the chances are still very low.

"For the individual family, this study is not going to have a big impact," because the chances are so low for any one individual, said James Crow, a retired professor of genetics at UW. But the study will shape public health statistics, he said.

Possible causes
Durkin said her research will hopefully lead to other studies designed to uncover the causes of the disorder. She said the observations that parental age and birth order are involved bring to mind several likely causes.

For instance, she said, factors that might influence the disorder in the children of older parents include age-related genetic and chromosomal damage, environmental toxins and the effects of infertility treatment.

Crow thinks the genetic hypotheses can be ruled out because the kinds of genetic problems that occur with age are not the same for men and women. So, if autism were caused by an age-related genetic mutation, then the study would show that it is only the age of the father that causes the disorder. That's because men produce sperm throughout their lives, while a woman's eggs are developed before she is born.

And if the disease were caused by chromosomal damage, as occurs in older women's eggs, then the risk would be dependent on only the mother's age.

Crow said the other two possibilities are more likely.

As for what is occurring in firstborn children, he said the most likely explanation is just a statistical artifact caused by "stoppage." Parents whose first child is autistic generally do not continue to have other children. The correlation seen with firstborn children is simply a result of parents not having more children, Crow said.

Although Durkin didn't test for this, she believes it's unlikely because most parents do not know their child is autistic until the child is 2 or 3 years old. She said many couples have had, or already are pregnant with, their second child when they realize that their first is autistic.

Other theories include the firstborn's exposure to toxins. The chemicals a woman has acquired over her lifetime are either released directly into the fetus or passed through her breast milk as she nurses. The firstborn soaks up more of those stored chemicals.

Another theory is the hygiene hypothesis, which suggests that firstborn children are exposed to fewer infections from other children early in childhood. Because of this delay, they may be more likely to develop autoimmune responses that affect brain development.

Although some parents consider vaccines a possible cause of autism, they were not mentioned in the paper. Numerous other studies have shown no link between vaccines and autism.

Before any cause can be discovered, Treffert said, doctors must refine their definition of autism. Some types of autism are apparent at birth, while other cases don't appear until a child is 3 or 4. There may be different causes for these kinds of autism, he said.

"While I'm all for community acceptance and education, if we keep expanding the definition, we're never going to find the cause," he said.

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