Advanced Grandparent Age Appears Associated with Increased Autism Risk



JAMA Psychiatry Study Highlights


A study by Emma M. Frans, M.Sc., of the Karolinska Institutet, and colleagues suggests that advanced grandparental age is associated with an increased risk of autism.


The authors conducted a study of individuals born in Sweden since 1932 using nationwide multigeneration and patient registries to expand on information about the association between paternal age and autism by studying the association between grandfathers’ age and childhood autism.


According to the results, men who had fathed a daughter when they were 50 years or older were 1.79 times more likely to have a grandchild with autism, and men who had fathered a son when they were 50 years or older were 1.67 times more likely to have a grandchild with autism, compared with men who fathered children when they were 20 to 24 years old.


“Older men should not be discouraged to have children based on these findings, but the results may be important in understanding the mechanism behind childhood autism and other psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders,” the study concludes.

(JAMA Psychiatry. Published online March 20, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.1180. Available pre-embargo to the media at


Editor’s Note: This study was supported by the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, and the Karolinska Institutet. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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