An Evaluation of the Effect of Increasing Parental Age on the Phenotypic Severity of Autism Spectrum Disorder

J Child Neurol. 2014 Aug 27;0883073814541478. doi: 10.1177/0883073814541478. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

It was recently postulated that because increased genetic load and increased parental age are both purportedly associated with the risk to develop an autism spectrum disorder, there must be a linkage between increasing genetic load and increasing parental age in autism spectrum disorder pathogenesis. The present study examined the hypothesis that if increased genetic load from increasing paternal age is important to autism spectrum disorder pathogenesis, then there should be a significant relationship between increasing parental age and increasing autism spectrum disorder phenotypic severity. Outpatient clinical records were retrospectively examined to identify a consecutive cohort of subjects diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (n = 351). Increasing autism spectrum disorder phenotypic severity was found not to be associated with increasing maternal/paternal age. The present study failed to support the hypothesis that increasing parental age was associated with increasing autism spectrum disorder phenotypic severity, but future studies should examine the relationship between genetic mutations in subjects diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and increasing parental age.

Keywords: Asperger; advanced age; gene; genotype; pervasive developmental disorder.