Children of older fathers are more likely to develop schizophrenia in later life, concludes new research published on bmj.com today.
These findings add weight to the theory that accumulating mutations in the sperm of older fathers contributes to the overall risk of schizophrenia. The study involved over 700,000 people born in Sweden between 1973 and 1980. The analysis was based on records of people admitted to hospital between 1989-2001 with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or other non-affective psychosis.
There was a strong association between increased paternal age at conception and their offsprings risk of schizophrenia, which remained even after taking account of a range of other factors that could have affected the results. Overall, 15.5% of cases of schizophrenia in this group may have been due to the patient having a father who was aged over 30 years at birth, say the authors.
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