London: Children are more susceptible to autism if either of their parents is older than 35 at the time of conception, researchers say.The findings have come as a surprise as it was previously thought that delaying motherhood represented the greatest risk.But the new study found that if either parent is between 35 and 39 – regardless of whether it is the mother or the father – then the extra risk of having an autistic child is the same.In both cases there is a 27 per cent greater chance of having a child on the autistic spectrum compared with families where both parents are under 35. But if both parents are in their late 30s, the risk does not increase any further than if only one of them is.However, if one parent is under 35 and the other 40 or over, the extra risk of autism is greater with an older mother (65 per cent) compared with an older father (44 per cent), the Daily Mail reported.Autism was thought to be linked to natural changes that occur to both eggs and sperm as people age.The new study suggests that while age still plays a role, there must also be some other explanation, which is not yet known.
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