|Autism in children|
A recent study revealed that older men can genetically pass on health disorders, such as autism or heart disease, to their children.
And the study published in the scientific journal “Cell” concluded that these problems may result from mutations in the sperm of the elderly, as researchers found that 1 in 15 men, especially older men, are more at risk of transmitting negative mutations to their children, compared to men. the youngest.
A cell mutation known as mosaicism (where different cells in the same person have a different genetic make-up) occurs in almost everyone, but if the number of abnormal cells outnumber normal cells, disease can occur.
The study's lead author, Martin Bruce, said: "Surprisingly, a comparison between the elderly and young adults showed few differences in mutations, which tells us that these mutations most likely originated when the father was a fetus, as mutations can remain undetected until the man has children." .
While study co-author Dr. Joseph Gleason noted: "Our previous studies have told us that sperm mutations contribute to the cause of disorders such as autism and epilepsy, but the implications for men without a family history of the disease were completely unknown."
"We believe that these mutations contribute to a significant human health burden, potentially causing 15 percent of cases of autism, congenital heart disease and severe pediatric disease, but we hope that by identifying men at risk, future cases of the disease can be avoided," Gleason added. .
The researchers, the authors of the study, discovered a new way to monitor and calculate mutations, while using the data to predict the potential impact on any future offspring.
They also found that the mutations did not differ in number, which made them believe that there was a "consistent risk" of disease in children, and they also found that the mutations are likely to occur in single sperm cells, which are currently below the levels monitored and detected.
Autism is a developmental disorder in which sufferers have difficulty communicating and behaviour. It includes many conditions - including autism and Asperger's syndrome - and symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Children are usually diagnosed with autism at age 2, after showing signs such as poor eye contact, unresponsiveness to their names and repetitive movements.
Boys are up to 4 times more likely to develop this condition than girls.