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Autism associated with older moms and dads


For years, older moms have born some of the responsibility for autism in their children, at least according to some studies.

Then a few years ago, a study came out saying that older dads having children with younger moms contributed to autism. Finally, a new study which may be definitive and it states that the maternal and paternal age are jointly associated with having a child with autism.

Researchers compared 68 couples from Jamaica where The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has operated a study group in collaboration with The University of the West Indies.

Mohammad Hossein Rahbar, PhD and director of the Biostatistics Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) component of the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS) at UTHealth, says that,

“Our results revealed that the age of the father and the mother are jointly associated with autism in their children. This test should put to rest discrepancies in previous studies showing that just maternal age or just paternal age are linked to having a child with autism.”

Researchers found that mothers who had autistic children were on average six years older than the women who did not. The same held true for dads who were on average 5.9 years older. Rahbar explained that previous studies used restricted statistical models which could not determine that both maternal and paternal age are joint risk factors. The flaw is referred to as multicollinearity. Rahbar’s statistical model was more sophisticated and able to consider the joint risk factor.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, UTHealth

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