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Aging Male Fertility

Posted May 22 2009 11:55pm

Rio de Janeiro
Although today's post is not about andropause, it does play into the topic.

Aging male fertility - and here we are talking about males age 35 and up, but particularly males aged over 50 that father children - has been the subject of numerous studies recently, and is indicating that the chances of brian disorders in offspring (specifically schizophrenia and autism) show a significant increase as opposed to offspring of younger males.

Psychology Today reports: "The biggest news—the father's role in brain disorders—has come to light largely because of research from Israel, where birth records routinely include the age of the male parent. The first unsettling finding linked paternal age and schizophrenia.

"In our first study, looking at every pregnancy in Jerusalem from 1964 to 1976, we found that increased age in the father predicted increased cases of schizophrenia in the children," explains Malaspina, who was on the team doing the work. "In our second study we found that when the cases arose from new mutations—not familial inheritance—it almost always could be traced to the genetics of the father. Somewhere between a quarter and a third of the cases could be explained only by the age of the father—a threefold risk linked to fathers older than 50 compared with those in their 20s." Studies in Sweden and California produced almost identical results.

The autism findings are even more disturbing: Men 40 and older in the Israeli study were almost six times as likely to have offspring with autism than men under 30. Some researchers believe that older fathers may hold a clue to the vast upsurge in autism cases in the past decade. "With older and older couples having children—in the past two years, for the first time, more babies are being born to women over age 30 than under age 30, and on average, male partners tend to be older than female partners—it's very feasible that paternal age is a major predictor of autism." Read more.

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