Parental Age Linked To Child Autism
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New findings published in Autism Research confirms previous studies linking the age of parents to an increased risk of autism in their children. However, previous studies analyzed the maternal and parental age independently of one another.
This week the online journal published results of a 10-year analysis on five million birth records in California looking into the “independent and dependent contributions of advanced maternal and paternal ages to autism risk.”
Researchers linked the records of women giving birth to a single baby in Northern California between 1990 and 1999, with records of 12,000 diagnosed cases of autism through 2006. The team used only records which included complete data on the age of both parents and their level of education.
The study concluded the woman's risk of delivering a child who develops autism increases with her age, while the “father’s age confers increased risk for autism when mothers are less than 30, but has little effect when mothers are past age 30.”
Similar conclusions were published in the September 2005 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry where Abraham Reichenberg, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and a team of scientists studied 300,000 births in Israel, again comparing birth records to pediatric records.
Likewise, last year, Mother Nature Network reported The American Journal of Epidemiology published research from the California Health Department's review of 7.5 million births in California between 1989 and 2000 concluding the older the mother the higher the risk of autism in their children.
The scientific community is investigating both genetic and environmental factors to explain the rising number of diagnosed autism cases. In the past few years the number of children with autism increased from 1 in 150 to 1 in 110, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, Autism Spectrum Disorders is an urgent public health concern. "We are currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date, called Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). SEED is looking at many possible risk factors for ASDs, including genetic, environmental, pregnancy, and behavioral factors."
Both the reports in 2010 Autism Research fin California and the 2005 study Archives of General Psychiatry in Israel conclude with a reasonable amount of certain the age of the parents is only a small factor in the increase risk of autism.