July 03, 2005

Study confirms older father ups Schizophrenia risk

A recent study in a Japanese population, the first cross-cultural study done on this topic, has confirmed previous reports (see http://www.schizophrenia.com/hypo.html#older for supporting research) that older fathers (i.e. older at the age of their children's conception) are linked to an increased risk for schizophrenia in those children.

Author Nori Takei and others analyzed data on paternal age from 99 Japanese people with schizophrenia, and 381 Japanese people without the diseases. Both groups averaged in their mid-twenties.

After correcting for the effects of family history and birth complications (both of which also increase the likelihood of schizophrenia), authors calculated an increased schizophrenia risk for those born to the oldest fathers that was three times that of those born to the youngest fathers (the specific ages of "oldest" and "youngest" were not included in the article - however, the report also concluded that those born to fathers age 32 or over had twice the risk of schizophrenia than those born to fathers age 28 or younger).

Maternal age, on the other hand, appeared to have no correlation to schizophrenia risk.

The authors conclude: "This is the first replication study on this topic conducted in an Asian country, and such reproducibility implies that the risk-increasing effect of advanced paternal age at birth is observable across different cultures, which further enhances the likelihood of a true association."

A possible explanation for this association might be the increasing likelihood of DNA damage in sperm as the father ages.

Source: "Japanese research confirms advanced paternal age and schizophrenia link", Psychiatry Source (http://www.psychsource.com), July 1 2005.

Abstract: "Advanced paternal age associated with an elevated risk for schizophrenia in offspring in a Japanese population" Schizophr Res 2005; 76: 337–342. Viewable at http://www.pubmed.com

More possible risk factors for schizophrenia: see http://www.schizophrenia.com/hypo.html


I have six children. The youngest [conceived father 48 ] has schizophrenia.

Is his dna going to show a difference from those born earlier, which might help define the gene differnce in schizophrenia developmnent

Posted by: DR D H Yates FR Psych at March 25, 2006 03:27 AM

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