Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Study on Paternal Age As Related To Schizophrenia and Autism

Unknown-3A recent study found that older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who could develop autism or schizophrenia because random mutations become more numerous as males get older. 

The study that tracked this finding was published online in the journal Nature.  It is the first study that provides scientific evidence for the increase in autism conditions. The study supports the argument that the increasing number of autism cases over recent decades is partially due to the increasing age of average fathers.

Experts noted that the finding was not a reason to forgo fatherhood later in life, but it may have some influence on reproductive decisions.  The study also contradicts the previous assumption that the mother's age is the most important factor in whether a child will have developmental problems.  

For more detailed information about how the study was conducted, please click here. 

See Benedict Carey, Father's Age Is Linked to Risk of Autism and Schizophrenia, The New York Times, Aug. 22, 2012. 


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