Older Fathers Linked to Lower Intelligence in Offspring

But older mothers are associated with superior intelligence

THURSDAY, Mar. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Children of older fathers are more likely to have subtle neurocognitive problems, while children of older women are more likely to have superior neurocognitive abilities, researchers report in the March issue of PLoS Medicine.

Sukanta Saha, from the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research in Richlands, Australia, and colleagues analyzed data on neurocognitive measures based on paternal and maternal age from 33,437 children at regular intervals up to 7 years of age.

After adjusting for confounding factors, the researchers found a significant association between advanced paternal age and poorer scores on all four neurocognitive tests except the Bayley Motor Score. In contrast, there was a significant association between advanced maternal age and better neurocognitive scores. The association was near linear for paternal age at all three children's ages, but was steep at young ages and less steep at older children's ages for maternal age.

"The offspring of older fathers show subtle impairments on tests of neurocognitive ability during infancy and childhood," Saha and colleagues conclude. "In light of secular trends related to delayed fatherhood, the clinical implications and the mechanisms underlying these findings warrant closer scrutiny."

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