Saturday, January 19, 2008

The EBD Blog on Paternal Age and Autism

John Wills Lloyd and James M. Kauffman do a nice job blogging about research connected to autism on the EBD blog. Lloyd is a professor from the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. Today I thought I'd blog about them in connection to yesterday's post about 2006 Reichenburg study on advanced paternal age and autism.

A paper, written by Leslie Feldman on EBD that is titled Fathers' Age and Autism serves as a main feature on the blog. The author cited the 2006 study by Reichenberg and noted that, "[Reichenberg] also found that the ratio of girls to boys in this cohort was 1:1, suggesting that this was a special subset of autism, maybe de novo rather than familial autism. "

Here is the last paragraph of Feldman's paper:

What might be the mechanism that produces higher rates of disorders among children of older fathers? The DNA in a 20 year-old male has been copied approximately100 times but in a 50 year-old father it has been copied over 800 times. Singh and colleagues (2003) studied differences in the sperm of older and younger men. Men over age 35 have sperm with lower motility and more highly damaged DNA in the form of double-strand breaks. The older group also had fewer apoptotic cells, an important discovery. (Apoptosis is form of cell death that protects the parent organism from problems or that permits differentiation, as in resorption of a tadpole’s tail.) A really key factor that differentiates sperm from other cells in the body is that they do not repair their DNA damage, as most other cells do. As a result, the only way to avoid passing DNA damage to a child is for the damaged cells to undergo apoptosis, a process that the study indicates declines with age. Singh is quoted in Science Blog (Sullivan, 2002) as explaining that, “In older men, the sperm are accumulating more damage, and those severely damaged sperm are not being eliminated.”

For more reading about various studies, I'd suggest this blog. Here is the authors' description of the EBD blog:

EBD Blog is about emotional and behavioral disorders of children and youths. In the US, this area of special education is often referred to as “emotional disturbance,” but we’re using the term EBD, as that one is more clearly descriptive and preferred by many leaders in the field. EBD Blog will also include content about related areas of disability, including autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD), and other similar topics. John Wills Lloyd and James M. Kauffman are the primary authors of EBD Blog.


Casdok said...

I will pop over there and have a look! Thanks.

J said...

You are welcome. Hope you find the site helpful.