ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
CANCER
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
CAREGIVING
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
The Raw Food Diet
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
FITNESS
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Football Can Shrink Players
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Drink Away Dementia?
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Add your Article

Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence

MONDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Men who put off becoming dads till later in life may pay a price: slightly lowered intelligence in their offspring.

That's the conclusion of an Australian study that found that kids born to older men underperformed on intelligence and cognitive tests from infancy to 7 years of age, compared with children of younger fathers.

But on the other hand, children born to older mothers scored higher on the same tests, the team said.

"The biological clock ticks for men, too," concluded Dr. Mary Cannon, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, and the author of an accompanying editorial in the March issue of the online journal PLoS Medicine.

"There are risks associated with delaying fatherhood," she said. "These risks may be subtle, such as a decrement of three to six points on childhood IQ tests, but can also be significant, as in the increased risks of serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and autism."

One reason may be that men's sperm change as they age, the Australian researchers suggested.

"We suspect that more mutations accumulate in sperm as the dads age," said Dr. John McGrath, from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and the study's lead researcher. "These mutations may cause subtle changes in the way the brain develops. But other social factors are involved also."

For the study, McGrath's team collected data on more than 33,000 American children born between 1959 and 1965. The data, which came from the U.S. Collaborative Perinatal Project, included the children's cognitive test results at the ages of 8 months, 4 years and 7 years. The tests included assessments of sensory discrimination and hand-eye coordination, conceptual and physical coordination and, at age 7, reading, spelling and arithmetic skills.

In addition, the researchers took into account socioeconomic factors, including family income.

They found that the older the father, the more likely the child was to have lower scores on all tests except the test for physical coordination. For example, in one model, children born to 20-year-old men scored an average of 106.8 points on a standard IQ test, whereas kids born to 50-year-old men scored 100.7 points, on average.

The researchers also evaluated the children based on their mother's age. They found that the older the mother, the higher the kids' scores on the cognitive tests.

The findings suggest that "we need to worry about age of fatherhood as well as age of motherhood," McGrath said. "We need to work out what underlies this association."

Other research has suggested that the children of older mothers might do better because they experience a more nurturing, attentive home environment, but children of older fathers may not necessarily experience the same benefit.

McGrath's group also speculated that genetics and social factors might play a role in the findings. They point out that a woman's eggs are formed before birth, so DNA may stay relatively stable. But sperm is produced over a man's lifetime. Studies suggest that sperm may gain mutations as men grow older, the researchers said.

"Increased age at fatherhood has potentially significant effects on both the medical and psychological/intellectual outcomes for children," Cannon said. "There has been a great deal of emphasis for many decades on the risks associated with increasing age at motherhood, but men somehow have the impression that fatherhood can be delayed with no ill effects on offspring. It may be time to redress this balance in the minds of the public."

-Steven Reinberg

More information

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has more on infertility.



SOURCES: John McGrath, M.D., Ph.D., Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; Mary Cannon, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin; March 2009, PLoS Medicine, online

Last Updated: March 09, 2009

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