Risk of Autism? Older Father,Brother Autistic

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ehgf
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29 Apr 2013, 11:12 pm

I'm 32 yrs old, married to a 54 yo man. I have an autistic brother, so I'm assuming I have the genes for autism. I've also read mixed conflicting studies on increased risk of autism with men over 50.

Are we at great risk for producing a child with autism?



MountainLaurel
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29 Apr 2013, 11:43 pm

Don't you think that you are at greater risk than than the general public? No one knows how great the risk is. Would you be content to have an autistic child? That is the key question in your position.



redrobin62
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30 Apr 2013, 12:02 am

"...increased risk of autism with men over 50"? I'm not understanding this statement. Are you saying that men over 50 have an increased risk of getting autism? Autism is a condition you're born with. It's not like diabetes or heart disease if that's what you're alluding to.



ehgf
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30 Apr 2013, 12:26 am

No silly. Of course not!

Some studies have said that men over 50 have a lower sperm count and increased gene mutations, resulting in increased risk of fathering an autistic child.

Yet another study I read said a woman under 30 with an older father is at higher risk of producing an autistic child vs. Over 30 with an older father. Confusing.

I'm hoping to hear from parents out there that are similar ages to my husband and I, and if they did in fact produce an autistic child. (I guess if someone like this responds then it can be assumed so else they wouldn't be on this forum).



ehgf
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30 Apr 2013, 12:41 am

MountainLaurel wrote:
Don't you think that you are at greater risk than than the general public? No one knows how great the risk is. Would you be content to have an autistic child? That is the key question in your position.


Thanks but I'm not looking for philsophical answers/questions but just an answer from experience or maybe a study. It's just so confusing with all the studies out there that seem to contradict each other.

I think the genetic link is very great but maybe not actually scientifically proven. But my question then relates more to the age of my husband, being over 50.



aligerous
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30 Apr 2013, 1:12 am

There was a recent study linking five disorders: major depression, bipolar disorder, autism, schizophrenia and ADHD; to each other. So in theory, if any of these run in both your husbands and your families, then you have an increased chance of having a child with any of these conditions. Here is one website about it: http://www.npr.org/2013/03/01/173271247/-study-depression-autism-and-schizophrenia-share-genetic-links

I'm starting to view these things as not disorders, but as a division of the species. But since that wasn't your question, I'll repress that particular rant :P

I do think the point about considering if you would be alright with a child with ASD is a good way to think about it, though. Since it runs in families, in theory that should help parents work with behaviors they are already familiar with (although it's not helping me potty train my son, that's for certain 8O :lol: ).

There are a lot of other NT traits that are very difficult to dealt with, awful genetic physical issues as well. Having a kid is always a gamble, but it's the kind of thing where having the mindset that all results are winners is probably the only sane way to do it.



ASDMommyASDKid
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30 Apr 2013, 1:54 am

Well, if you are hoping you will have an autistic child, then you would hope for confirmation. If you are hoping not to, then you should probably hope you don't. I am not saying that to be flip, at all. I hope it does not read that way. Anyway, my husband and I do not meet that age profile, and our son is definitely autistic. That said I am Aspie (informally diagnosed, but I am confident in it, for whatever that is worth) and my husband has aspects of it, but he has (undiagnosed, but could not be clearer) ADD. In my biased little microcosm I personally feel that the inheritance aspect plays a larger role than these other factors (and probably get amplified by them.)

So, if your husband does not have many Aspie/Autistic traits, I would guess (but do not know) that he would be less likely to have that type of mutation than a man older than 50 who did have Aspie traits.

Here is an article that talks about the statistics you mention, and supports what you are saying.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/healt ... .html?_r=0

Quote:
But the study, published online in the journal Nature, provides support for the argument that the surging rate of autism diagnoses over recent decades is attributable in part to the increasing average age of fathers, which could account for as many as 20 to 30 percent of cases.

...

The research team found that the average child born to a 20-year-old father had 25 random mutations that could be traced to paternal genetic material. The number increased steadily by two mutations a year, reaching 65 mutations for offspring of 40-year-old men.

The average number of mutations coming from the mother’s side was 15, no matter her age, the study found.




Here is another interesting article that shows the genetics at play that tracks grandchildren of men that were older fathers.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/2 ... to-autism/
Quote:
Older paternal age has been linked to autism in a man’s offspring, but now researchers have found that the older a man is when his child is born, the greater the risk for autism in his grandchild.

Writing online in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers used Swedish government data on parental and grandparental ages of 5,936 children with autism, comparing them with more than 30,000 children without autism. They found that compared with men who had a child when they were 20 to 24, those who became fathers when they were 50 or older were about 73 percent more likely to have a grandchild with autism. The connection held even after controlling for other factors, including the age of the grandchild’s parents.



MountainLaurel
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30 Apr 2013, 9:30 am

ehgf
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06 May 2013, 10:18 pm

MountainLaurel wrote:
Older father younger wife:


This link is not the same as Older father younger wife. Can you repost the link to this topic? Thanks.

Also thanks ASD. I've seen those articles too. Very confusing. Older father equals increased autism in grandchildren? Huh?

Then I read one that said with younger mothers under 30 with a father over 50, there were increases in autism. But when the mother was over 30, the age of the father didn't matter as there were no significant increases in autism. What?



velocirapture
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07 May 2013, 10:36 am

If you'd like some random anecdotal information, my parents were both teens when I was conceived, and I am 1)almost certainly on the spectrum and 2)the owner of a list of other diagnoses. My grandparents were early 20's and early 30's when they had my mother.

That said, my mother's brother is autistic to a degree where he cannot live independently, and I was exposed to teratogens in the womb.



leniorose
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12 Aug 2017, 6:53 pm

Mom was 24 when she had me. My uncle is the only family member who had symptoms before me. I have Asperger's, but my twin sister doesn't.

You're at risk, but I don't think your husband's age has anything to do with it.



eikonabridge
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13 Aug 2017, 5:59 am

leniorose wrote:
You're at risk, but I don't think your husband's age has anything to do with it.

Are you serious? Have you done a google search for "Father's Age and Autism?"

That being said, there is a big difference between correlation and causality. See for instance this article: https://www.statnews.com/2016/05/23/older-fathers-psychiatric-disorders-genetics/ (It is from May, 2016, so it's fairly recent.)

... “It suggests that the story is more complicated than simply ‘age-related mutations equals increased risk,’” said Gratten. “Even though they do contribute, they don’t explain everything, so other factors must be contributing, as well.”
... One plausible explanation, he said, could be that those fathers who are genetically predisposed to psychiatric disorders may also happen to be predisposed to having children later, which would increase the chances of these disorders showing up in their children.


If you do go into the actual research articles (I have done that) on parental age effects and autism, you'll see that many of them do disclaim up-front that their studies do not imply causality. Proving correlation is easy. Proving causality is a different matter altogether. Unfortunately, in public media, catchy headlines matter more than accuracy.

At the reported rate of autism (1 in 68), there is no way that it can be a genetic "disorder." We must change our perspective and view autism as something intended by Mother Nature. Namely, it is there for a purpose. See, did you know that our mammal ancestors were tetrachromats so they viewed colors in 4 dimensions? So, compared to our ancestors, we the trichromats are all color-blind. Yet, today, we view dichromats (people who view colors in 2 dimensions) as suffering from a disorder and we call them color-blind, without realizing that it is a general trend in evolution. Take a look at what I wrote:

http://www.eikonabridge.com/Tomatoes.pdf


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13 Aug 2017, 12:02 pm

For shits and giggles...

I was 39 and my husband 43 when our kid was born. She's more NT than both of us put together. He has ASD and so does his mother. The ASD causes major issues in their lives. (Both have to work really hard to "pass".)

I worried about other genetic stuff. The thing about older parents and ASD wasn't around back then.

Roll the dice and take your chances.

One thing I didn't do was all the genetic testing. If the fetus came back with issue (whatever), I wasn't going to have an abortion. I know I would just ruminate for the rest of the pregnancy. Stuck my head in the sand and enjoyed my pregnancy.

That isn't for eveyone, but it worked for me.



Tawaki
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13 Aug 2017, 12:52 pm

eikonabridge,

I can tell you the fertility clinics around here hype up the 1 to 68 ratio to push clients towards using egg/sperm donation if there is a heavy history of autism on either side of the family.

I know two women who chose that route. One already has a kid on the spectrum.

While your points are valid, people are already choosing ways to avoid either having another autistic child, or really trying hard to stack the odds in their favor for an NT kid.

Out of all the disease and syndromes advanced maternal age supposedly causes, Autism is front and center of why you shouldn't wait long to have a baby on the fertility clinic literature. The clinics aren't stupid. Donation eggs/sperm make more money for them. If you can gently scare a client to a more expensive procedure, I guess, why the hell not?

If a client is plunking down big time cash for a baby, most people want to mitigate any "issues".

When my social worker friend can place a vent/tube feed/multiple needs 14 year old teen or a infant with Downs syndrome (who will need a zillion surgeries before age two) away before a 6 year old with Aspergers (not even low end of the spectrum), that tells you a lot what people think of Autism.

So...while you are correct with your information, no one seems to point that out to the general public.



eikonabridge
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13 Aug 2017, 5:57 pm

Tawaki wrote:
So...while you are correct with your information, no one seems to point that out to the general public.

Two things:
(a) I have a crazier story on egg/sperm donation, but out of privacy of the parties involved, I won't share the it here. Trust me, after seeing all the crazy stories, it makes you wonder who the really mentally ill are.
(b) As for pregnancy termination, I think Mother Nature will sort itself out. I am not worried there. As I have said, Mother Nature has had more DNA molecules to play with than the total memory capacity of all our supercomputers, combined. We are not there, yet, to compete with Mother Nature's wisdom. But if people want to go ahead and gamble with their lives, they are welcome to. Human genetic engineering is not new. So why don't we look at the case of schizophrenia during and after Nazi Germany? Sure, they terminated virtually all schizophrenic people in Germany. One generation later, by some accounts, Germany has even more incidence rate of schizophrenia in relative terms than other countries. (http://brucelevine.net/what-happened-after-a-nation-methodically-murdered-its-schizophrenics-rethinking-mental-illness-and-its-heritability/) Just remember the quote from the Jurassic Park movie: "Life, finds a way."



If you see things from modern technology's point of view, you will understand why I encourage people to have autistic children. We already live inside the Technology Singularity. To me, a person must be crazy to prefer to have neurotypical children. Ask my wife. She is neurotypical. Yet she is the one that constantly tells people: "If I had a choice and have to do it all over again, I would still choose to raise autistic children."

I understand there are families struggling out there. But people out there also have to understand that there are happy families with autistic children. My children are always happy. Happy children with big smiles, everyday. I don't struggle. My life has been easy with two autistic children. All I remember is how much fun I've had ever since my children came to this world. BUT, people have also to understand that I have some very peculiar way of raising my children. I raise my children with my hands, not with my mouth. I solve their tantrum issues when they are happy, not when they are mad/sad. I've never paid much attention to their verbal/social/behavioral issues. I developed them visually-manually. I drew pictures for them and taught them to read early on. I understand Fourier Transforms, modulation, and the Yin and Yang behind it all. Autism to me is trivial, and beautiful. I am not your typical case. But, trust me, I am not the only case, either. There ARE happy families with autistic children. I've seen them and met them, in person.

Reproductive rights are part of the "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" enshrined in the US constitution. No one can and no one should tell anyone else what to do. Each person makes their own best judgment, and is responsible with their decision. The rest, as they say, it's not up to us.


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