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Paternal age increases the risk for autism in an Iranian population sample

Author(s): Sasanfar Roksana | Haddad Stephen A | Tolouei Ala | Ghadami Majid | Yu Dongmei | Santangelo Susan L

Journal: Molecular Autism
ISSN 2040-2392

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 2;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Background Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is known to have a strong genetic component and is most likely oligogenic. However, the necessary role of environmental factors has been well documented. Prior research suggests that parental characteristics, such as age and level of education, may be associated with a risk of autism. Parental age has been shown to be associated with many disorders, such as schizophrenia, childhood cancer and fetal death. However, results from studies of parental age and autism are inconsistent. Methods In the present study, we investigated the association of autism with parental age in 179 autism cases and 1611 matched cohort children from Iran. Each case was matched with nine cohort controls on parental education, sex, order of birth, consanguineous marriage, urbanism and province of residence. The Cox regression model was used to carry out conditional logistic regression on the matched data. Results There was a significant association between higher paternal age, but not maternal age, and an increasing risk of autism. An analysis of the combined effect of parental age and education also revealed that parents with higher education had an increased risk of having autistic children, with a dose-response effect of parental age. Conclusions This study, which is the first epidemiological study of autism in Iran, provides evidence of the association of paternal age and risk of autism.
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