Fathers’ age, lifestyle associated with birth defects

ScienceDaily. Published online:  15 May 2016.

DSC_2005_2

Image source: fruity monkey // CC BY 2.0

A growing body of research is revealing associations between birth defects and a father’s age, alcohol use and environmental factors, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center. They say these defects result from epigenetic alterations that can potentially affect multiple generations.

The study, published in the American Journal of Stem Cells, suggest both parents contribute to the health status of their offspring — a common sense conclusion which science is only now beginning to demonstrate, says the study’s senior investigator, Joanna Kitlinska, PhD, an associate professor in biochemistry, and molecular and cellular biology.

The report is a review of evidence, human and animal, published to date on the link between fathers and heritable epigenetic programming.

Among the studies reviewed are ones that find:

  • Advanced age of a father is correlated with elevated rates of schizophrenia, autism, and birth defects in his children;
  • A limited diet during a father’s pre-adolescence has been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular death in his children and grandchildren;
  • Paternal obesity is linked to enlarged fat cells, changes in metabolic regulation, diabetes, obesity and development of brain cancer;
  • Psychosocial stress on the father is linked to defective behavioral traits in his offspring; and
  • Paternal alcohol use leads to decreased newborn birth weight, marked reduction in overall brain size and impaired cognitive function.

Read the full commentary here

Read expert reactions here

Read the original research article here

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s