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Older dads' study links older dads to kids' psych concerns

Rod Stewart with infant child
Rod Stewart with infant child

A study of older dads reveals that older men who become fathers could face higher risks, than previously believed, of having children with psychiatric problems. Those problems include autism, attention deficits, and bipolar disorder, according to a Yahoo! News report on Wednesday.

Research conducted by Swedes and Americans analyzed data on some 2.6 million Swedes who were born from 1973 to 2001. According to the study, men who had children after the age of 24 had increased odds of producing children with psychiatric problems or academic difficulties. Greatest risks were found at age 45 or older.

By no way does this study assert that children of older fathers are certain to have problems – as everyone likely knows someone who fathered children later in life and their children are tremendous kids. In fact, the study shows that absolute risks were quite small, such as less than 1 percent of kids having autism, bipolar disorder, or attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Additionally, less than 4 percent had schizophrenia, have ended up abusing substances, or attempting suicide.

Academic challenges in children were more common in children of older dads but did not affect most of the children of older fathers.

The distinction came between fathers who were 20 to 24 years of age versus fathers who were 45-years-old or older. In that comparison, Brian D’Onofrio, who was the lead author of the study, said that dads aged 45 and older had 13 times greater chances of having children with ADHD than 20-to-24-year-old dads. Older dads had three times greater chance of having a child with autism. The older dads had almost three times greater suicide attempts by their kids. The older dads also had kids with two times greater chances of having schizophrenia and substance abuse.

Experts call the study impressive due to its depth and breadth, but say there needs to be much more research and study done on the topic before older men should worry about having children.

And remember the report from two years ago that said children of older fathers live longer? So, go figure.

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