Do younger dads have healthier kids?

Dr. Mark Weiser from Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine has found in several studies that older men have an increased risk of having children with autism, a lower IQ, or social skills deficits. Interviews with 450,000 Israeli male teens were examined; those whose fathers were 45 years old or older when the boys were born had a 50% greater likelihood of poor social functioning. Dr. Weiser hypothesized that fathers with poor social skills might get married at a later age and then pass social difficulties on to their children. However, the researchers attempted to control for this by studying brothers. It might also be possible that older fathers might have greater access to medical support, resulting in an increase in diagnoses.

The researchers noted that most of the increased risk was related to fathers in their 50s, as the difference in risk between 35 and 45 year-old fathers was extremely small. In fact, even the increased risk remained small; Dr. Weiser suggested that older men shouldn’t change their minds about having kids.

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