Taiwan study links late paternal age with early onset of mental illness

A man who fathers a son or daughter at an age over 50 may increase risk of a child developing a mental disorder by up to 66%



TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A study from Taiwan suggests that a father's age at the time of conception might be associated with the early onset of schizophrenia, reports said Friday.

Scientists from the College of Public Health of National Taiwan University (NTUCPH) and the Department of Public Health of China Medical University, Taiwan have discovered that for every ten years a man postpones siring a child after the recommended age range of 25-29, the risk of developing mental illness for the child increases by 30 percent.

The research examined the data of 3,000 families with members diagnosed with schizophrenia, as well as the genome analysis of 1,600 households. A link was found between older paternal age and earlier onset of symptoms of the mental disorder among kids, reported Liberty Times.

Researchers believe that the increased risk of mental diseases might be attributed to random genetic mutations in sperm that are more likely to occur in older males.

The age of 25 and 29 is recommended for fatherhood because a male's sperm has matured but not yet undergone significant genetic mutations. A man who fathers a son or daughter at an age over 50 might increase the risk of his kid developing mental disorders by up to 66 percent, said assistant professor Wang Shi-hen (王世亨) of China Medical University, who is involved in the study.

Statistics indicate that the average paternal age in Taiwan has risen from 30.3 in 1991 to 34.5 in 2017, according to the report.