Autism and Male Sperm

Jeremy Silverman, M.D. interviewed on NPR re: his recent studies on AUTISM
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine:

He has been studying the effect of the age of the father at conception on the incidence of autism. He used the Israeli data base (every person in Israel has to serve in the military so the intake process makes for a huge medical and psychological data base.) and found that as the age of the father increases by 10 years the incidence of autism increases dramatically. The hypothesis is that the male sperm change in DNA structure or specific chromosome damage due to the age of the sperm is the causal factor in autism. He said that a thorough review of research on the popular notion that immunization causes autism has no supporting base to it. Sperm damage is the more likely culprit.

He also noted that autism is mainly a male disorder: 4 times as many male children as female children. However, as the father ages, the incidence of females with autism increases, again supporting some type of genetic, chromosomal damage in the sperm as the causal link.

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