When it comes to researching autism and other developmental disorders, it's been almost all about the moms. Her age. The age of her eggs. The risk of the birth. But a new study shows that older dads are more likely to have a child with autism or schizophrenia, and the mother's age may not have a role in the risk for those disorders.
The European study, published in the journal Nature, is being lauded by U.S. physicians as very well done and a breakthrough that may change how we research and try to curb the surge in autism. As the NYTimes reports: "The findings counter the longstanding assumption that the age of the mother is the most important factor in determining the odds of a child having developmental problems. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities, like Down syndrome, increases for older mothers, but when it comes to some complex developmental and psychiatric problems, the lion’s share of the genetic risk originates in the sperm, not the egg, the study found."