Age of father may influence chances of kids with autism
Older father's may have more of a chance of having a child with autism. Video by ktnv.comvideo
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It turns out the age of a father may play a role in a child developing autism.
For the first time, researchers are spelling out how genetic material in men's sperm changes as they age. They have found that, unlike moms, dads have an average of 25 mutations by the age of 20.
By the age of 40, that number is up to 65 mutations. And that could be part of the reason that older men, particularly dads over the age of 50, are more likely to father an autistic child.
Dads over 50 have twice the risk that dads over 30 have.
"We've known for some time that spontaneous mutation probably were significantly more common in children with autism. What we didn't know is how much more common," says Dr. Thomas Insel, National Institute of Health.
Despite this new finding, the age of a father still only explains about 5 percent of the risk of autism. There is still a lot about autism that researchers do not know even today.