• Sweden edition
 
Older dads linked to kids with mental health woes

Older dads linked to kids with mental health woes

Published: 27 Feb 2014 07:48 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Feb 2014 07:48 GMT+01:00

A study of over 2 million Swedes has found that those with older fathers face higher risks of psychiatric problems and attention disorders, announced researchers on Wednesday.

 
Compared to people whose fathers were between the ages of 20 and 24 at the time of their birth, those with dads 45 or older were 25 times more likely to have bipolar disorder, said the findings in JAMA Psychiatry, a journal of thecAmerican Medical Association.
   
The study found people born to older dads also were 13 times more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
   
The research adds to a growing body of science on the negative effects of delayed procreation in men, an area that has traditionally focused on the risks to women and their offspring.
   
"We were shocked by the findings," said Brian D'Onofrio, lead author and associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington.
   
"The specific associations with paternal age were much, much larger than in previous studies," said D'Onofrio, who collaborated with researchers at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
   
The size of the data set -- 2.6 million people -- accounted for every person born in Sweden from 1973 until 2001.
   
Older paternal age was linked to a greater likelihood of schizophrenia, suicide attempts and substance abuse problems in offspring, as well as failing grades and lower IQ scores.
   
Children of dads aged 45 or older also were 3.5 times more likely to have autism and 2.5 times more likely to have suicidal behavior or a substance abuse problem than those born to dads aged 24 and under.
   
The likelihood of having one or more of the problems increased steadily with the age of the father, signaling that there was no age threshold which suddenly posed new risks.
   
And by comparing siblings, researchers found associations with advancing paternal age far higher than in the general population.
   
Scientists made allowances for the effects of higher income, common in older men and a factor which should negate some hardships of growing up, but found the strong associations remained.
   
'Informative' findings
   
"The findings in this study are more informative than many previous studies," D'Onofrio said.
   
"First, we had the largest sample size for a study on paternal age. Second, we predicted numerous psychiatric and academic problems that are associated with significant impairment."
   
Women have long been counseled that their egg supply is constantly diminishing, while men are making new sperm well into old age.
   
Researchers now know that DNA mutations can happen each time sperm replicate. As men age, they are exposed to more environmental toxins that can lead to DNA changes in sperm.
   
Nevertheless, women and men over the past 40 years increasingly have delayed childbirth.
   
The average age of first-time mothers in the United States was 21.5 in 1970 and by 2011 it was 25.6, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
   
Men tend to be about three years older on average, according to Indiana University researchers.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Check out what's happening with The Local's guide to the main attractions and events in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö - in association with DoToday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

748
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com