Elderly People With Elderly Fathers- Do they face more problems?
Elderly persons with elderly fathers – do they face additional risks?
KAREN RITCHIE a1a1 French National Institute of Medical Research (INSERM), Research Unit U888 “Nervous System Pathologies,” La Colombière Hospital, Montpellier, France Email: Ritchie@montp.inserm.fr
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Psychogeriatric research has explored many factors likely to influence our mental health in later life, but one which has received surprisingly little attention given the current interest in genetic determinants has been paternal age. We now know that both delayed motherhood and delayed fatherhood may have a significant detrimental effect on the mental health of the offspring, but by different mechanisms. While delayed motherhood has been associated with higher rates of obstetric and perinatal problems, delayed fatherhood has been associated with higher risk of new inheritable-mutation disorders. Tarin et al. (1998) have postulated that this is because aging leads to a reduction in the activities of antioxidant enzymes within the seminal plasma and spermatozoa making them more vulnerable to mutational changes. In most syndromes the mutation rate increases with paternal age at an exponential rate. This rate is much higher than in elderly women, perhaps due to the greater number of cell divisions in the male germ line (Crow, 1997).