Delaying Fatherhood? Advanced Paternal Age Increases Risk For Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Children

Delaying fatherhood has many disadvantages. One is that advanced paternal age may increase risk for neurodevelopmental disorders in the offspring.

An increasing number of couples are delaying parenthood for various reasons: financial issues, unemployment, workplace inflexibility, higher levels of education, etc. But another undeniable fact is that as we get older, our reproductive potential also decreases. Late pregnancy is linked to decrease IVF success rate and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth. Studies have also shown a connection between advanced paternal age and rising disorders in children. Interestingly, a recent study revealed that babies born to older fathers cry in a different way, indicating a link between advanced paternal age and vocal behavior of the offspring.

The study, published in the journal iScience last month, suggested that these different crying patterns may indicate a risk for autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Disadvantages of delaying fatherhood

Earlier research had identified advanced paternal age as a risk factor for several disorders like autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, childhood Leukaemia, as well as lower body weight in infants.

To determine how the age of the father affects vocal development in babies, a group of international researchers led by Professor Noriko Osumi from Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, conducted a study on mice. They examined the vocal behavior of baby mice, called pups.

They found that pups born to aged fathers developed atypical vocal behavior similar to that of mice with autism spectrum disorder.

In addition, they found that mice born to young fathers showed a rich repertoire, while those born to with advanced age fathers exhibited a limited repertoire. The pups with advanced age fathers also had lower body weight than pups with young fathers.

The findings showed the advanced paternal age causes alterations in early vocal behavior, leading to atypical developmental patterns.

This finding not only indicates that advanced paternal age may be a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders but also suggested that atypical development patterns could be detected in early infancy.

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