Older Dads More Prone to Having Kids With Schizophrenia
Psychologist Enid Reed, PhD, has another interpretation.
The risk of genetic mutations increases with age, she agrees, but there are
other risk factors associated with developing schizophrenia that the
researchers might not have considered. For example, pregnant women who come
down with the flu during their second trimester are also at increased risk of
having a child who will eventually develop schizophrenia
So before you older men call off your baby plans, heed the advice of
Malaspina and Crow.
"It's important for people to realize that most offspring of older
fathers are perfectly fine," says Malaspina. "I would not want this to
be interpreted that older fathers should not have children, but this does
possibly suggest that when people are planning their families, they might
consider the age of the father as well as the mother."
Furthermore, says Crow, the effect of age is not very large, and these
findings are more relevant to the ongoing efforts being made to understand the
cause of schizophrenia. This research is just one step more along the path of
clarifying the role genes play in the development of the disease.