Risk Autism Rises in Older Mothers
Concerns About Autism Increase As Maternal Age Does
The rise in autism rates is easily one of the biggest concerns of the last two decades. New research suggests that as the age of the parents-to-be increases, so too does the risk of autism, particularly for mothers who are above the age of 30. The research comes from the Drexel University School of Public Health and the Karolinska Institute.
Researchers’ conclusions suggested that parents’ ages have differing impacts on the risk of a child. For older mothers, the risk increases dramatically, while just a moderate increase is reported for older fathers. Researchers concluded that understanding the biological mechanisms that affect the process is a must.
The study showed that women who gave birth before the age of 30 had no risk of autism associated with age. Those who were above the age of 30, though, saw rapidly rising rates of autism, so despite the previous studies that showed strong paternal age effects, this study says it’s really the mother’s age that is of concern.
For the study, 417,303 children born in Sweden between 1984 and 2003 were analyzed. Thanks to a comprehensive case-finding approach, many autism cases were identified, and those that had an intellectual disability associated were often linked to older parents. A lead researcher concluded that despite new data, the risk of having a child with autism remained at one in 100 and even less than two in 100 for mothers under the age of 45.