A new study on the effects of smoking in the United States has produced results. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryJAACAP(*(), published by Elsevier, reports that parental age is linked to the risk for the development of neuropsychiatric disorders in children, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD); attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); and Tourette’s disorder/chronic tic disorder (TD/CT).Both the young and the old parents have shown an increase in risk for neuropsychiatric disorders in their offspring, including ASD and ADHD, both at conception.
The study provides new evidence about the relationship between age at parentalhood and risk of TD/CT or OCD in children. This confirms previous associations between ADHD and ADHD in children with younger parents, and ASD in older parents.
“Our research shows that parental age is associated with differential risks for pediatric-onset mental disorders for the first time in a population-based study,” Magdalena Janecka, PhD and Postdoctoral Fellow at Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment, New York. These results support a model that incorporates a shared and distinct risk architecture of childhood neuropsychiatric conditions. They also highlight that the unique contributions that parental age makes to risk in children.
Researchers from the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment’s Tics and OCD Program, both at the Icahn College of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of Aarhus’ Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, (iPSYCH), conducted a cross-diagnostic study of the effects of paternal and maternal ages at conception on childhood onset neuropsychiatric conditions. They used a large population-based sample.
The study cohort consisted of 1,490 745 individuals who were born in Denmark between 1980-2007. There was also detailed information about the parents’ ages. The cohort was tracked through December 2013. ASD, ADHD, OCD and TD/CT cases were identified in the Danish Psychiatric Central Register as well as the National Patient Register.
These methods allowed investigators to simultaneously examine the risk relationships between the age at which a parent is born and the various psychiatric conditions that may affect the offspring. They found that ADHD and TD/CT was more prevalent in younger parents, while OCD and ASD were more common among older parents.
The study did however find that the risk associated with parental age at conception was small and should not affect individuals’ decisions about when they want to have children.
Dorothy Grice, Senior Author and Director of the Tics and OCD program at Mount Sinai, stated that “we used a very large cohort of 1.4million children for this study and it allowed for more precision in examining complex relationships between parental age and offspring risks for mental health conditions.”
“Our study findings will guide the search to find the specific mechanisms that impact risk for childhood mental disorders.”
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