Becoming a father at a slightly late in life may be good for you, but bad for your son. This is what researchers from Tel Aviv University have suggested, that older fathers may have boys with poor social abilities.
The study revealed that older dads are more likely to have boys with autism and lower IQs.
"There is a growing body of data showing that an advanced age of parents puts their kids at risk for various illnesses," said lead researcher Dr. Mark Weiser from TAU's Sackler School of Medicine.
"Some illnesses, such as schizophrenia, appear to be more common the older parents get. Doctors and psychologists are fascinated by this, but don't really understand it. We want to know how it works," he added.
Older the father, greater is the chance of boys to display poor social abilities as teen.
Dr. Weiser looked at data collected by the Israeli army. Subjects included more than 450,000 male teens, aged 16 and 17 and asked about their social life.
The researchers found that the prevalence of poor social functioning increased by 50 pct in boys with fathers 45 years old and up.
"It could be that men with poorer social skills get married later in life, and therefore transmit this characteristic to their boys. But our studies attempted to control for this variable by looking at brothers from the same father," said Weiser.
However, he also suggests that older men shouldn't change their minds about having children since the statistical risk is relatively minor.
"The effects of a father's age on the health of his son are quite small, and many of the most dramatic effects in this study are driven by dads in their 50s," said Weiser.
"The difference in risk between someone who is 35 or 45 is so small that it's irrelevant," he added.
The study appears in Oxford Journal's "Schizophrenia Bulletin".