Monday, October 16, 2006

Dr. Barry Starr, Dept. of Genetics Stanford University A cheerful article on how mom and dad affect your risk of schizophrenia

Such a cheerful face and such a very tragic and devastating reality for many offspring of older fathers,

One possible reason why schizophrenia is so common

And how mom and dad affect your chances of getting it

by Dr. Barry Starr

Schizophrenia affects over 2 million people in the U.S. That is close to 1% of the U.S. population.

This is surprisingly common for such a devastating illness. And its frequency is even more puzzling because genes play such a large role in schizophrenia (click here to learn more).

Usually genes that would affect someone as severely as schizophrenia would become less common over time. But this isn’t the case for schizophrenia.

"As a man ages, there is a build up of these damaged sperm so that the odds of a damaged one fertilizing an egg gets higher. Men in their 50s are three times as likely to have a child with schizophrenia as compared to 25 year old dads. These spontaneous mutations increase the number of schizophrenia gene versions in the population."

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