February 27th, 2014
02:10 PM ET
Study: Children of older fathers face higher risk of psychiatric disorders
Do men have a biological clock of sorts? A large new study suggests they may.
Compared to younger fathers, older fathers' children were found to be significantly more at risk for a host of psychiatric disorders, according to the study, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
For example, the children of fathers ages 45 and over were three times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder, 13 times more likely to have ADHD, and 25 times more likely to have bipolar disorder than the children of fathers aged 20 to 24.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 2.6 million children born in Sweden between 1973 and 2001, making it one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on the effects of paternal age.
"The working hypothesis is that as men get older and their sperm continue to replicate, that there are more chances of having mutations in the base pairs of the DNA," says Brian D'Onofrio, lead study author and associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University.
"Those genetic mutations are associated with psychiatric problems."
The age-related effects were gradual, researchers found; a 35-year-old man's child had greater risks than the child of a 25-year-old man.
A 2012 study done by researchers in Iceland indicated that as many as 20% to 30% of cases of autism and schizophrenia may be linked to fathers' advanced age. Unlike findings on conditions such as Down syndrome, the Iceland study found the mother's age made no difference. For that study, researchers looked at genomes of 78 sets of parents and offspring.
While most studies on this subject simply compare children born to young fathers with those of older fathers, D'Onofrio calls that method "comparing apples and oranges, because we know that young fathers differ on many things compared to older fathers."
Instead, D'Onofrio and his colleagues compared siblings; looking at the outcomes when the same man has a child in his younger years and then again later in life.
"That enabled us to get a better understanding of what's truly due to the advancing father's age at childbearing," says D'Onofrio.
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Another silly way to scare all of us. I have two sons, one when I was 38 one at 41, both are so intelligent i told my wife there must be alien intervention. Two of the best sons anyone could imagine. they are now 17 and 20 amazing accomplishments etc. Everything in the news is about Fear!!!! It sucks.
You have a great point.
Another scare story ... in this case to make feminists happy.
I am just one of three children born to an over-50 father ... all of us are either doctors, Ph.D.s, or well on the way for a Ph.D., and as far as we know all of us have very fulfilling personal and professional lives.
are you sure they are yours?
Every rule has exceptions, you might have great kids, but that does not mean it is the rule. Plus, it is just a greater likely hood to have these problems, not a guarantee they will have them.
The article is talking about fatuers that were over 45 duh. Hmm you must have had an old daddy.
Actually, most news sucks and not very well, at that.
A single example is worthless for trying to understand the "big picture." Did you sleep through stats class?
totally man. your n=2 study holds way more weight than their n=2,600,000 study.
It is a percentage, not a guarantee. Two point six millions children studied is an amazing sample size. I put a lot of faith in what they concluded. But hey, I'm a math lion.
Bill Crane, just because you have 2 intelligent children, does not lessen the validity of this study. It seems that you basically said because your two children are just fine, that the 2.6 million children studied hold no weight, and that's not true. Like RicoTorpe said, a single example is worthless for trying to understand the big picture. Sure, you may think that they are "just trying to scare us," but the statistics tell the truth, not the story.
I would be skeptical of this study. First, two days ago a large study in PLOS One showed no effect of paternal age on intelligence–which CNN didn't even bother to note . Second, I read another recent study by these same authors based on the same database related to criminality. They actually showed less crime in children born to older fathers, but with a slight uptick for fathers in their 50s and and beyond. But, there was a lot of variability in the very oldest groups (>50 and >60 years), probably because there were such a tiny number of fathers in those age groups to begin with. (Incredibly, the authors never presented the actual number of fathers of each age in their sample). The bulk of the literature shows weak or nonexistent detriments for older fathers, except at the very highest age groups. There is a lot more evidence for the detrimental effects of maternal age and there are many more mechanisms for age factors to express themselves in older mothers.
Oh com'on. Please take some of the credit. With a sophisticated sense of humor like you have, they must have been
A feminist type article, trying to scare Males and knock them down a notch. Jealous feminists with ill intentions as usual. Don't do ManKind(oops, HumanKind) any favors, but just bitterness in their intentions.
I hope they have a better command of logic than their father does. You sound like the guy who says he's smoked for 30 years and doesn't have cancer therefore all that talk about smoking causing cancer is hogwash.
The conclusion of the study is about risk factors, not hard and fast "if you do this such and such will happen" rules. What would motivate you to dismiss the results of research that could help people make better decisions about when to have kids?
It's all about FEAR, and scaring you over nothing.
Researcher 47 was right.
"Oh, bill crane's kids are fine? Why would I look at the multi year study with 2.6 million samples then?"
faulty study since it is not done in the U.S. For years older mean have fathered children. All of a sudden in 2014 this comes out ???? LOL
The numbers cited are true only for sibling-comparison analysis ("in within-sibling comparisons"). William Hudson is a joke.
I have a 24 year old son with Asperger's syndrome(I was 23 when he was born). I also have a daughter, 20 ,no issues. My youngest is 2.5 (I was 44 when she was born), no issues to this date. I guess age does not always apply in a negative way.
This study is about psychiatric disorders; intelligence isn't mentioned, and it's not a judgement on the value of a human being. I'm glad you have smart, wonderful children, but they could just as easily be smart, wonderful kids with a mental disorder.
fear is what you interpret...I just see facts. Facts I can live with.
Funny how the "biological clock" specifically targets "mental disorders" and not other genetic aberations like deformities, cancer, growth problems, etc. Maybe it's a psychological thing of having a father span a generation of social change gap...Did they think of that? If anything, this "study" proves that ADHD, and it's relatives are just hoaxes for doctors and pharmacists to make money off children who don't behave like 90% of the other kids. Lets just bring up robots!
Looks like you just confirmed the findings of this study. Maybe if you're dad was younger when you were conceived, you would understand that anecdotal evidence doesn't trump scientific findings. Just because George Burns smoked cigars every day and lived to be 100, doesn't prove that smoking is good for you.
My dad was 41 when I was born and I turned out just fine. No you didn't. Yes I did. Shut up! YOU shut up!
I have three female fiends in their late forties who mothered children after 45. The children are happy and healthy.
As it is with women, with men it's about sample size and population.
The fact that your children are healthy is no surprise. The fact that a 40 year old woman has a healthy child is no surprise.
My Grandma had 2 children after 45 back in the 1930s. No surprise. All healthy.
I don't know what feeds this stuff but sometimes I think there's a pharmaceutical interest in making people, particularly women, feel inept.
I'm glad to see the guys sharing the burden here.
Your example is equivalent to saying that you knew a guy who smoked like a chimney and lived to be 90. Still doesn't make smoking a good idea.
Another example would be if you would mentioned someone who fell from a 10th story and lived.
Medicine is about statistics and risk, not one guy's success story.
How does a story like this make CNN's front page???
Here we are 32 days out from the deadline (March 31, 2014) of the most hideous bill ever passed in our legislative system at ANY level, Russia, our #1 Geopolitical Foe, is flexing it's muscle on the Ukraine border and laughing at us, Syria is massacaring it's citizens and laughing at us, Iran continues to make nuclear weapons and is laughing at us, our credit rating is a AA and China is laughing at us, the Benghazi Scandal, the IRS Scandal, & the AP Scandal are go unpunished while investigations continue AND all CNN has is that soin of older fathers have mental disorders????
I thought the founders framed it so that the media and the governing administration were a little adversarial so that they would govern with accountability.
uh oh a fox news watcher...Don't forget the Bush admin policies almost put this country six feet under and noe your republicans are blocking every law just because they can. ridiculous. good luck getting the white house in '16.
Your fox is showing.
You know I've wondered why Repubs block so many laws as well. I finally figured out why: They actually read it.
Yes, and Clinton really destroyed this country. Both of them!
And now BO is leading another charge down the tubes. Great job "team"...
Another Chicken Little on the right weighs in. Relax. You'll have plenty of time to finish your bunker.
I noticed a seious lack of any substance in ANY of the liberal's posts here. Can someone teach you some new material? "your fox is showing", "finish your bunker", etc. Is there a website you guys all subscribe to? Cause this material is really old. But, thanks for the laughs.
Ukraine is a mess, Syria is a mess, Iran is a mess, and foreigners of varied backgrounds are still trying to sneak into the United States illegally because it remains the best hope for mankind. In other words - not much new going on.
Try to remain calm.
No wonder all of my kids are bumping into walls
You are blessed. I have female friends who had children in their late 40s. All happy and healthy.
Two samples mean nothing.
Bill Crane – I'm glad to hear that your sons are doing well.
But you do understand that this article didn't say – "Guaranteed problems!", right?
Basically, it said Sweden sucks.
That's right kids!!!!! So make babies young!!!!!!! As soon as you have a chance, make them babies!!!
All this study tells me is that Swedish men have inferior genetic traits to pass on.
And export all the good looking women, too.
From what this article says, it appears Michal Jordan's new babies will be whacked...Suffering from jerkitis and egomania....
In my 54 years of life I tend to disagree. I think children that lack proper parenting, missing a mom or dad, or their parents are rich, have more mental problems than my or my friends kids.
Doesn't surprise me a bit.
(did that surprise you?)
LOL you believe this garbage I have a pill that will make your world a paradise.......
Ummm... sperm banks have been around for decades and are not a new concept. Just curious as to why this doctor thinks they are a new idea.
Next year there will be another article stating "Children of Older Fathers healthier and happier"–The study will show that it is all about the environment!!
Well, looks like I really screwed up having a kid after 40. Thanks CNN for pointing this out
here come the flood of comments saying WELL MY DAD WAS 122 WHEN I WAS BORN AND I TURNED OUT FINE.
protip: your one single case does not disprove data based upon thousands of cases.
humans are made to reproduce in their 20s or early 30s. get your eggs or sperm frozen if you ain't ready to have kids when you're younger. make kids with good genes, not your messed up old dude genes.
I can assure you this story is not true. I had a young father and am bat crazy
This doesn't say that dads who are between age 20 and 24 may not be mature enough to take care of a child
I disagree with this study. A man and a horse never gets old!
"That enabled us to get a better understanding of what's truly due to the advancing father's age at childbearing," says D'Onofrio"
Right, because a 25-year-old man does not change in any significant or confounding way in the 20 years that he ages to 45 aside from the quality of his sperm. Please. The sibling argument doesn't hold much water.
I had my kids at 40 and 42, thanks for telling me their lives are gonna be f(_)cked! Depressing, dont know why i read news.
This is absolute BS. 1. There is no test what-so-ever for ADHD. It is an opinion diagnosis. ADHD is a fraud, perpetrated by te BigPharma drug pushers. Read the book ADHDFraud
IThis are the same group who say 1 in 10 children are autistic. If you do your own research and not buy everything the media pushes then you can see How pharma and doctors are all on the take with kickback from pharma. CNN's Dr. Pinsky was paid at least 300k by pharma. Follow the money you will find that those that want this type of headline are the ones that profit from it. .
I'm 62, sharp as a tack and still working 60 hours per week in tax season. My dad was 55 when I was born, 57 when my little sister was born. She's fine too.
Back when we were born there was basically no autism or ADHD or bipolar disorders. Now it's something like 1 in 150 kids born have autism.
Maybe they should study all the vaccines these kids are given! Duh.
Or the drugs and pharmaceuticals mummy and dada took....
LOL just had my first child. A fine baby girl. I'm smarter, more stable, and been around the block a few times. This article is crap. I don't need t build my career and try to raise a child at the same time. I can dedicate more resources to raising my baby girl than I could at 20.
how would you know whether or not your fine baby girl has bipolar or something, tbh?
This is what scientists are spending their millions in grant money? Isn't there cancer to cure? AIDS to treat? Perhaps an energy crisis? No, let's study old man vs young guy sperm on an astronomical scale.
drugs to treat HIV have already been discovered and ppl with HIV can live normal and long lives now. there is never going to be a "cure for cancer" because cancer is thousands of different diseases, some of which can be effectively treated and some of which cannot. a researcher who specializes in mental illness and/or aging is not going to be of any use to the energy crisis.
got anything else?
We've spent an ungodly amount of research on autism and ADHD, to name the most common examples, on mothers yet still come up short on answers.
If men are 50% of biology why would you not suggest that their "contribution" to be suspect?
too many variables for any of this to be taken seriously
Phony Liberal studies, lie lies lies. Abraham had a son around 86 years go age, and even today man have children at old age. Woman have kids at old age as well. Children are blessing of god
How about I knock up your wife?
CNN only hires people who are darn good at injecting fear in public. Oh wait, let me put the condom on because I've a potential of making a retard baby! Whatever happen to optimistic news these days for public? Got an answer Gupta?
scientific research is designed to discover the truth, not make you happy. go turn on a cartoon or something if you want the warm fuzzies.
Great. More media propaganda to try and get the declining marriage interest of men to turn around. It's been known for years that as a woman ages closer to 30 and towards menopause, the risks of defects skyrockets.
The tone of this article just screams out as some kind of shame tactic to try and convince men to get married younger in reflection of our declining consumerist society that depends on the taxes generated by men spending money on women.
Thank God it doesn't have anything to do with all the oils spills, pipeline breaks, coal ash, and general garbage we keep pumping into our land, water, air, & food! I am so thankful the Teapubli-tards have been around to tell us that and climate change, exotic diseases, ever changing healt concerns are NON_Related and Myths Liberals want to make us afraid of !!! We can all breat a sigh of relief they are on the job and considering us like the recent vote let big business (that has Always been terribly concerned about the general public's health more than money!!!!) put GMO's in foods and not tell us! My God what could possibly go wrong!!
Well, that's me. However, I would say my problems mostly come from my dad dying when I was little. I suppose you could attribute that to his older age when I was born to some extent, and his own genetic propensity towards certain problems was probably a factor too. In the end, I think we can safely blame my dad, haha.
If you want to father kids after the age of 45 you probably have ding a ling juice in your brain to begin with
People read the flipping article. It didn't say every kid from an older father is going to be messed up. Said higher odds. This makes total sense sine people are having kids older now. There seems to be more autism than there was 30 years ago. A couple I know have a severely autistic son who is 9 now. The dad was around 40 when he was born. I do believe age has something to do with it.
What I find to be a huge oversite is the fact that significantly older fathers probably have wives within their age range. How can it all be contributed to the paternal age? Poor reporting on a scientific study.
We can solve these problems with a better understanding of how the human mind works and through collaboration. Looking for those who would like to pilot this crowdsourced autism robot: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1097403
This is why stem cells need to be funded big time. They can fix just about anything but get shot down by the "The media is out to get you" crowd.
OH how true I think this is. It is PARTICULARLY true also if the older dad has addicition problems because those also get inherited.
I'm not sure about the whole aged sperm thing, cream does rise to the top supposedly. I became a father in my late 20's. Both boys have become great young men, the youngest supposedly has ADHD, he's the go to guy when there are computer issues. I became a father again in my late 40's, to a boy and a girl. Both kids are great and have wonderful personalities.
Genetics is a crap shoot
Shoot for a different hole next time.
I knew it! I had my son when I was 21 and I'm so glad I did because I always noticed that for some reason the kids of older fathers he went to school with were always a little bit off.
More shaming language to pressure men into marrying into a feministic world with the deck and the courts stacked against you using a pool of women who have been tainted. No thanks.
Feminism has destroyed the core family, and it will take decades and generations to ever repair that damage. Meanwhile, men have woken up and gone their own way. Which is why the birth rate is dropping at a massive rate, along with the marriage rate. Because it's not that a good percentage of women do not want to get married and have kids, it's that men are not asking them anymore.
blah blah blah gibberish gibberish gibberish blah blah blah
Isn't it GREAT when there's nothing else to report on in this country?
I'm so glad our economy is strong, our unemployment low, we still have our AAA credit rating, our military is strong, our standing in the eyes of the rest of world is that of respect and our healthcare system is looking really, really good!
The main finding doesn't look surprising. As we grow older, our bodily functions, respiratory system, peptic system, metabolism, cardiovascular, etc. become less efficient. Saying that this might have an effect in offsprings doesn't seem surprising. However, a more interesting question is this: Irrespectively of the age of the parent, how does stress, pollution, unhealthy diet, etc. affect offsprings? Is it really age that matters or the increased stress (pay the bills, deal with the boss, find another job, save for retirement ...) associated with age?
There appear to be a number of bitter old men commenting on this story. The science is very good and it isn't news. Most sperm banks do not take sperm from men over 35 because it is known sperm quality degrades. If you want to delay parenting until you are past 40, you should seriously consider freezing some sperm while you are young to give your children the best chance at health and happiness. Unlike the defects caused by aging eggs, those caused by aging sperm can't be tested for in utero. It is nature, not feminists, plotting against you men.
Article-very interesting. Comments- priceless and entertaining. It is so refreshing to see how many people are willing to be candid about their craziness. Also how little so many people know about statistics.
I particularly enjoy all of you who like to reference Abraham as a FACTUAL rebuttal to this study. I haven't laughed so hard in months.
Most people don't care about the study. They care about the reason the study is being reported on information that has been known forever. It's obviously politically tied to the lowering birth rates and large delays in marriage due to uninterested men.
There is a political agenda behind reporting on this and that message is clear if you look close enough.
"Man up. Get married. Have kids. Consume. Consume. Consume." We're just expected to take the risk of a 50% chance of divorce, 70% initiated by women, with only a 10% chance of gaining kids if we lose and 95% of alimony being paid for by men.
I knew I should have had that kid when I was 16. Ohh well...
Now I have to send two of them back!
Well, at 51 with a four year old, a two year of and a ten week old, all in perfect health, I do have to question their findings.
You will be approaching 70 by the time your youngest graduates high school. Think of how many people die before they get to that age. My father died at 54 when I was 8 and 17 years later, I'm still dealing with the psychological scars from that. You and your kids may be healthy now, which is fantastic, but that can change very quickly and trust me, the therapy bills aren't cheap. The cost is even greater IMO from a day to day standpoint. The effect of such issues in my childhood means I have virtually no memories of my own childhood, no Christmases to fondly look back on, no knowledge of lullabies to sing my future kids to sleep, no idea of how kids think and work. I'm basically blank till I was about 12 and to this day I have to use memory palaces to force myself to remember things. I also rarely dream and have nonexistent coping skills. All this could have been significantly avoided if my dad had fathered me younger so I would meet trauma at a more mature age.