After studying around 700,000 people researchers say dads who have children at an older age may increase their child's risk for developing schizophrenia later in life.
Researchers based their analysis on records of patients admitted to the hospital in Sweden between 1989 and 2001 with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or another non-affective psychosis. Researchers say they found a strong association between the fathers' age at conception and their children's risk of becoming schizophrenic. This remained true even after taking into account a range of other factors that could have had an impact. Researchers say nearly 16 percent of the schizophrenia cases could be attributed to being born to a father over age 30.
It was observed that the above findings were specific to schizophrenia compared with non-affective psychosis and is stronger in those with no family history of the disorder. Thus researchers say their findings provide insight into the theory that accumulating mutations in the sperm of older fathers contributes to the overall risk of schizophrenia.