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Young maternal age and old paternal age induce similar risk of mental disorders in offspring
  1. Jorge Lopez-Castroman
  1. CHRU Montpellier, Montpellier, France;
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jorge Lopez-Castroman, CHRU Montpellier—Urgence et posturgence psychiatrique, CHRU Montpellier 191, Avenue du Doyen Gaston Giraud, Montpellier 34295, France; j-lopezcastroman{at}

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What is already known on this topic?

There is robust evidence of an increased risk for autism, schizophrenia and learning disabilities in children born to older fathers, and an increased risk for Down's syndrome in children born to older mothers.1 Advanced parental age may prompt mental disorders in the offspring via de novo mutations in the male germline or chromosomal abnormalities in the female gamete.2 On the other hand, the children of young parents more frequently display conduct disorders and poor outcomes, such as substance use or academic problems, a finding that has been attributed to the socioeconomic deprivation and mental health difficulties affecting teenage mothers as described by McGrath et al.

What this paper adds?

  • Most previous studies had examined the effect of extreme parental ages in clinical samples with regard to a particular mental disorder; rarely had assessments been conducted across diagnostic categories.1

  • Their results confirm the risks of delaying paternity but, unlike recent reports, fail to find an association between paternal age and the occurrence of bipolar disorder or …

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  • Competing interests None.

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