Father’s age may be overblown as risk factor for autism

It’s difficult to pick up a newspaper these days and not see a reference to the apparent increase in the incidence of autism, and the role that having children later in life might play in this phenomenon. Some reports have gone so far as to tell young women it’s a mistake to delay childbearing and say that young men should freeze sperm for later parenting.

In the past few years, several studies have implicated fathers’ age more strongly than mothers’ in increasing autism risk. Although older fathers have more spontaneous mutations in their sperm than younger fathers do, no one has shown that these accumulating mutations contribute to autism risk in their children.

In a paper in March in Molecular Psychiatry, my colleagues and I argue that repeating this reasoning as accepted wisdom is a leap that the media, and researchers, should be careful to avoid.

Read the full, original story: Guest blog: Paternal age’s link to autism remains murky

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