Study: Father’s age may affect kid’s chance of having learning disability

What is ADHD? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the initials ADHD stand for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It's a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. Some of the symptoms include impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. Conditions common in people who have ADHD include learning disabilities, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, depression and substance abuse.

A study performed on mice suggests that older men may be more likely to father children with autism, ADHD or other developmental problems

Men in their 90s have been known to father children, but a new study indicates those children are put at risk of having a learning disability.

"It is no secret that genetic factors play a role in determining whether children have neurodevelopmental disorders," researchers wrote in Science Daily.

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A research team from the Department of Developmental Neuroscience at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine performed immunohistochemical analysis of the testis in 3-month-old mice before performing the same analysis on mice 12 months or older.

Led by doctoral student Misako Tatehana and professor Noriko Osumi, the team analyzed histone proteins during the 12-step spermatogenesis process. Specifically, the team looked at eight markers: seven methylations and one acetylation.

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When researchers compared markers between the younger and older mice, they found the latter had higher amounts of the modified histone protein H3K79me3.

In earlier research from the same graduate school, also led by Osumi, “found a correlation between the amount of H3K79me3 in sperm and abnormal speech communication in pups, making it a predictive marker of neural-developmental disorders.”

The new study suggests that paternal aging potentially affects neurodevelopment in humans.

“In other words, the older the parent, the increased risk a child has of developing disorders such as autism, ADHD and other learning disabilities,” researchers wrote.

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