Father's age and lifestyle risk birth defects in children
Older fathers, said the study, birth children with higher risks for developing schizophrenia, autism and birth defects in children
Much of the pressure to give birth to a healthy baby falls on mothers—a reasonable premise. After all, whatever the mother eats, the baby eats. Whatever the mother does, the baby feels.
But a father's health status has as much influence on the unborn child as the mother.
Based on the finding of scientists from Georgetown University, it shows that fathers’ health status has an immediate impact on their children. Not only that: this influence can have an effect on the generations to come.
“We know the nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring,” lead author Joanna Kitlinska said.
“But our study shows the same thing to be true with fathers—his lifestyle, and how old he is, can be reflected in molecules that control gene function,” she says. “In this way, a father can affect not only his immediate offspring, but future generations as well.”
Older fathers, said the study, birth children with higher risks for developing schizophrenia, autism and birth defects in children.
Obese fathers, on the other hand, contribute to their children’s obesity through their genes. Additionally, obese fathers risk dysfunctional metabolic regulation, diabetes, and even the development of brain cancer in their offspring.
Fathers with high alcohol consumption also contribute to their children’s small brains and impaired cognitive function.
According to International Business Times, the study was conducted in preparation for another study by the researcher’s.
“It will involve conducting an animal study to find out if day-to-day stress in fathers and mothers is linked to higher rates of paediatric cancers.”
“Maternal prenatal stress can increase the risk of paediatric cancers, and the hypothesis we are going to test is that the same can happen when fathers are also stressed out,” said Joanna Kitlinska to IBTimes.
“Before we began our investigation, we wanted to know where science stood in terms of fathers' influence on offspring's health,” she added.