Department of Economics and Business Economics

Parental Age and Differential Estimates of Risk for Neuropsychiatric Disorders: Findings From the Danish Birth Cohort

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  • Magdalena Janecka, Department of Psychiatry and Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA. eva.velthorst@mssm.edu.
  • ,
  • Stefan N Hansen
  • Amirhossein Modabbernia, Cardiovascular Institute, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York.
  • ,
  • Heidi A Browne
  • Joseph D Buxbaum, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY; Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment; Friedman Brain Institute and Mindich Child Health and Development Institute.
  • ,
  • Diana E Schendel
  • Abraham Reichenberg, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY; Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment; Friedman Brain Institute and Mindich Child Health and Development Institute; Institute for Translational Epidemiology.
  • ,
  • Erik T Parner
  • Dorothy E Grice, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY; Division of Tics, OCD, and Related Disorders; Friedman Brain Institute and Mindich Child Health and Development Institute. Electronic address: Dorothy.Grice@mssm.edu.

OBJECTIVE: Parental age at birth has been shown to affect the rates of a range of neurodevelopmental disorders, but the understanding of the mechanisms through which it mediates different outcomes is still lacking. We used a population-based cohort to assess differential effects of parental age on estimates of risk across pediatric-onset neuropsychiatric disorders: autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette syndrome/chronic tic disorder (TS/CT).

METHOD: Our study cohort included all singleton births in Denmark between 1980 and 2007 with full information on parental ages (N=1,490,745), followed through December 31, 2013. Cases of ASD, ADHD, OCD and TS/CT were identified in the Danish Psychiatric Central Register and the National Patient Register. Associations with parental age were modeled using a stratified Cox regression, allowing for changes in baseline diagnostic rates across time.

RESULTS: Younger parental age was significantly associated with increased estimates of risk for ADHD and TS/CT, while older parental age was associated with ASD and OCD. Except for OCD, we did not observe any evidence for differential effects of parental ages on male vs. female offspring.

CONCLUSION: We provide novel evidence for the association between age at parenthood and TS/CT and OCD, and show for the first time in a population-based sample that parental age confers differential risk rates for pediatric-onset psychiatric disorders. Our results are consistent with a model of both shared and unshared risk architecture for pediatric-onset neuropsychiatric conditions, highlighting unique contributions of maternal and paternal ages.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
ISSN0890-8567
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2019

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