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posted by LaminatorX on Friday February 21 2014, @03:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the totally-getting-snipped-for-my-birthday-this-year dept.

robingHood writes:

"New Scientist Magazine reports on findings that suggest that delaying fatherhood may increase the risk of fathering children with disorders such as Apert syndrome, Autism and Schizophrenia. The article reports that 'although there is a big increase in risk for many disorders, it's a big increase in a very small risk. A 40-year-old is about 50 per cent more likely to father an autistic child than a 20-year-old is, for instance, but the overall risk is only about 1 per cent to start with.' In other words: time to start mating before those tadpoles turn into toads."

 
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by martyb on Friday February 21 2014, @03:17AM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2014, @03:17AM (#4034) Journal

    Okay, I'd heard of Autism [wikipedia.org] and Schizophrenia [wikipedia.org], but had never heard of Apert Syndrome. For the curious: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apert_syndrome [wikipedia.org].

    Apert syndrome is a form of acrocephalosyndactyly, a congenital disorder characterized by malformations of the skull, face, hands and feet. It is classified as a branchial arch syndrome, affecting the first branchial (or pharyngeal) arch, the precursor of the maxilla and mandible. Disturbances in the development of the branchial arches in fetal development create lasting and widespread effects.

    Have just started reading it, but thought I could help save some Soylents' searching. The pictures of one manifestation are quite helpful.

    --
    Wit is intellect, dancing.
    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Fluffeh on Friday February 21 2014, @03:46AM

      by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2014, @03:46AM (#4053) Journal

      Apert Syndrome is a step Apert from Autism and Schizophrenia...

      *sips coffee*

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by GungnirSniper on Friday February 21 2014, @03:29AM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Friday February 21 2014, @03:29AM (#4041) Journal

    This is similar to the maternal age effect which shows a correlation with chromosomal abnormalities including Down Syndrome. [wikipedia.org]

    I wonder if this is an evolutionary 'benefit' in a way. For eons, women had many children from their teen years on. If they managed to have a child with one of these problems, it didn't affect the passing forward of the mother's genes. Could the Downs child be reproductive nature's retirement plan, helping to take care of the mother?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:54AM (#4084)

      i think it is rather an evolutionary artifact. our average life expectancy runs past our evolutionary grooming. if teenage moms were the norm, there would be no way to select for/against a disease that occurred when someone was in their 40s.

    • (Score: 1) by JimmyCrackCorn on Friday February 21 2014, @05:33AM

      by JimmyCrackCorn (1495) on Friday February 21 2014, @05:33AM (#4102)

      Ok, There was this egg that turned into a chicken.

      Genetic change is what happens.

      I like eggs.

      Old sperm is corrupt with change.

      Bring on the next.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by jonh on Friday February 21 2014, @03:43AM

    by jonh (733) on Friday February 21 2014, @03:43AM (#4049) Homepage

    As I understand it, the general trend in the West is towards people marrying and having children at older ages than previous generations. I wonder how many generations it will take before we would start to see any reduction in disorders correlated with the age of the parents?
    I'm assuming that reproduction is still currently skewed in favour of young parents, as historically speaking, people lived shorter lives, so would've had less chance to become old parents, and there would be less opportunity for genetic traits related to longevity to be expressed.

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:26AM (#4073)

      When you consider that Western women are more interested in money than having children, Western men don't have money if they can't find work, and Western hiring practices favor giving jobs to women instead of men, the general trend in the West is toward extinction.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Friday February 21 2014, @05:09AM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Friday February 21 2014, @05:09AM (#4091) Journal

        I see there is a lot of bitterness in your comment, which I'm just going to ignore. You should know that there are also men who don't want kids. I am intentionally childfree (as distinguished from "childless" -- a term that suggests lack). I always knew I didn't want to have kids and so I didn't. I got cured of my ability to cause infantile infestations in females 10 years ago, and it was probably one of the very best decisions I ever made.

        As for extinction, we're growing our population exponentially -- if there is an extinction event for humans, I would bet it is much more likely to be caused by overbreeding rather than the few like me who choose to avoid the whole parenthood bit.

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by iNaya on Friday February 21 2014, @07:16AM

          by iNaya (176) on Friday February 21 2014, @07:16AM (#4142)

          >> we're growing our population exponentially
          That is no longer true. Population growth rates globally, and especially in Western countries have been dropping for years. In some countries, such as Japan, Russia, and Germany, it is negative.

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by FatPhil on Friday February 21 2014, @11:06AM

            by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Friday February 21 2014, @11:06AM (#4219) Homepage

            -1 misleading.

            For every child that's not been born in Japan, Russia, and Germany, a dozen have been born in India, Indonesia, Nigeria, or even China[*]

            Population growth rates globally have been dropping, indeed, but whilst that rate remains above zero, even by the tiniest fraction, we've *still got exponential growth*.

            The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. (google that)

            [* That dozen figure is completely pulled from arse, it's probably enormously higher, probably three figures, I'm just playing it safe.]

            --
            Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
            • (Score: 1) by iNaya on Friday February 21 2014, @11:13AM

              by iNaya (176) on Friday February 21 2014, @11:13AM (#4227)

              Imagine this equation:
              y = 2x

              As x (time), increases, y (population) increases. In this function the growth rate of y is ALWAYS above zero and constantly decreasing. This is a linear function, not an exponential one.

              • (Score: 1) by FatPhil on Friday February 21 2014, @11:19AM

                by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Friday February 21 2014, @11:19AM (#4231) Homepage

                Nope, that growth rate tends to 0.

                --
                Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
                • (Score: 1) by FatPhil on Friday February 21 2014, @11:21AM

                  by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Friday February 21 2014, @11:21AM (#4233) Homepage

                  Oh, and did I mention that the greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

                  --
                  Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
                  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday February 21 2014, @08:10PM

                    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday February 21 2014, @08:10PM (#4517) Homepage Journal

                    Oh, and did I mention that the greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

                    Do you know of any other species that is better at it? Any other species that can do math at all?

                    --
                    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
                    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Saturday February 22 2014, @12:20PM

                      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Saturday February 22 2014, @12:20PM (#4793) Homepage

                      Out of the species that have developed birth control - all of them apart from the humans.

                      --
                      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by iNaya on Friday February 21 2014, @11:24AM

                  by iNaya (176) on Friday February 21 2014, @11:24AM (#4237)

                  You are correct. The growth rate tends towards zero.

                  It also always stays above zero. And it is also not exponential.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by FatPhil on Friday February 21 2014, @10:46AM

          by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Friday February 21 2014, @10:46AM (#4213) Homepage

          +1 for childfree. Or "childfree by choice" when talking to people unfamiliar with the concept that some of us have no interest in making little clones of ourselves. Fortunately the term seems to be gaining some traction, so it doesn't need the full description so often.

          We have more money left at the end of the month, and *way* more time all the time, than our peers who have sprogged. Then again, we're now living in a nett-NPG country, and most of our peers are not breeding either. (The last country I lived in was breederific in comparison.)

          Don't get the impression that I'm a baby-murderer who opens his car door to take out prams on the pavement as he drives down the road. I'd be willing to bet that the 2nd largest recipient of my charitable donations for the last few years have been a chain of childrens homes.

          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
          • (Score: 1) by Sir William on Friday February 21 2014, @08:04PM

            by Sir William (173) on Friday February 21 2014, @08:04PM (#4510)

            If you don't want people who choose to have children to be disparaging to you for your child free choice, then you probably should choose a different term than breeder. Most find it offensive.

            • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Saturday February 22 2014, @12:02PM

              by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Saturday February 22 2014, @12:02PM (#4792) Homepage

              Infinitive: breed;
              Agent noun: breeder

              Are you saying that breeding is offensive to them?

              --
              Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 1) by Daniel Dvorkin on Friday February 21 2014, @06:42AM

        by Daniel Dvorkin (1099) on Friday February 21 2014, @06:42AM (#4133) Journal

        Well, that escalated quickly.

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        Pipedot [pipedot.org]:Soylent [soylentnews.org]::BSD:Linux
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by iNaya on Friday February 21 2014, @07:00AM

        by iNaya (176) on Friday February 21 2014, @07:00AM (#4137)

        If anything, a culture that discouraged reproduction, means that those that do reproduce would have a higher genetic disposition towards doing so. So even if there was a problem, it would eventually fix itself.

        The real truth is that more educated and well-off populations tend to reproduce less.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by FatPhil on Friday February 21 2014, @11:09AM

          by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Friday February 21 2014, @11:09AM (#4223) Homepage

          The strongest and most telling correlation is with the level of education of the females. And that doesn't just hold between populations, but within them.

          --
          Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Friday February 21 2014, @02:44PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:44PM (#4326)

        Wow, stereotype much?

        Western hiring practices favor giving jobs to women instead of men

        If we're talking about the US, those practices must not be working, because (according to the BLS [bls.gov], there are ~75 million adult American men working, and only ~66 million adult American women working. In addition, a big reason for the disparity is women delaying their careers to raise children - the US system strongly encourages one parent to go back to work as soon as possible after having a child, and because men on average earn more than women that parent is usually the child's father.

        There's also a big difference between gradual population decline seen in some countries in Europe, and extinction. If a country was really worried about that, they could simply loosen up legal immigration and after a few years have a whole bunch of new citizens who are overjoyed to be there.

        --
        Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mcgrew on Friday February 21 2014, @08:40PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday February 21 2014, @08:40PM (#4529) Homepage Journal

          The women's movement was a boon to the rich. The labor market almost doubled with women's influx, and supply and demand drove down wages. The shame is, when women were first liberated, men should have been, too. In the early days, it was a woman's choice whether or not to work, but a man was expected to hold a job, and even today if you're a stay at home dad you're looked at in askanse, and it's gotten so that everyone, man or woman, is expected to toil away creating wealth for the rich.

          A child, especially a young child, needs a parent at home. I would have loved to stay home and watch the kids; my kids and I were always close and I enjoyed being "dad" more than any other role I've ever had in life.

          We need to go back to one breadwinner per family, and IMO it doesn't matter whether Mom or Dad stays home and who works. I'm old enough to remember when most women raised kids, and have seen that child care is harming our society. The only people who should need child care are single parents. The Unites Staes needs a labor shortage!!

          Guys, let the old lady work, stay home and raise the kids. You don't need a McMansion and an F-150. I mean, is your self-worth so little that you need money to feel important?

          Alas, the greedsters have killed any chance of you young folks ever having a better life.

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @05:07AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @05:07AM (#4090)

      That would only work if we used disorders as selectors. For example, if people with these disorders were disqualified from breeding. If there is no selector, there is no evolution ;)

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by similar_name on Friday February 21 2014, @06:23AM

        by similar_name (71) on Friday February 21 2014, @06:23AM (#4126)

        Some selector is almost always at play. Even if just in sexual selection. While I'm sure age plays a part in the increase in disorders I also wonder how much the parent carrying the disorder is related to having kids at a latter age. People with social disorders, even if mild, may reproduce less likely or when they do, may reproduce later in life. There may be more than one thing at play here.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by SomeRandomGeek on Friday February 21 2014, @07:18AM

          by SomeRandomGeek (856) on Friday February 21 2014, @07:18AM (#4143)

          Natural selection is not just complex, but often counterintuitive. Consider the gene for sickle cell anemia and malaria immunity. If you inherit the gene from one parent, it confers immunity to malaria. If you inherit the gene from both parents, it confers sickle cell anemia. In malaria prone environments, it was common that everyone who survived to adulthood had one copy of the gene. Children of two such parents had a 25% chance of not getting the gene, and likely dying in childhood of malaria, a 25% chance of getting two copies of the gene, and likely dying in childhood of anemia, and a 50% chance of getting one copy of the gene, and maybe living to adulthood. The gene is a mixed blessing at best, but it is strongly selected for in malarial environments, and strongly selected against anywhere else.
          It is quite possible that any particular undesirable genetic trait is being held in the gene pool by some desirable trait, to which it happens to be linked.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by lothmordor on Friday February 21 2014, @03:48AM

    by lothmordor (1522) on Friday February 21 2014, @03:48AM (#4055)

    Indeed, there are significant birth defect risks when the father or the mother [telegraph.co.uk] are advanced in age.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by German Sausage on Friday February 21 2014, @03:50AM

    by German Sausage (1750) on Friday February 21 2014, @03:50AM (#4057)

    Bang out some kids when you are 20, they will be healthy and poor. Wait till you can afford to house and feed them, run the risk of defects?

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:17AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:17AM (#4069)

      >>>Bang out some kids when you are 20, they will be healthy and poor. Wait till you can afford to house and feed them, run the risk of defects?

      How about banging out some kids with a 20yr old woman while I'm in my 40's. You'll get the best of both worlds....among other benefits.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Friday February 21 2014, @05:11AM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Friday February 21 2014, @05:11AM (#4093) Journal

        I guess you didn't read TFS.

        • (Score: 1) by iWantToKeepAnon on Friday February 21 2014, @03:33PM

          by iWantToKeepAnon (686) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2014, @03:33PM (#4361) Homepage Journal
          Heh, you must be new here .... wait, we are all new here. :-]
          --
          "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:33AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:33AM (#4077)

      If you can't find a living wage job to house and feed your family when you're 20, your society is broken.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Friday February 21 2014, @04:05PM

        by Sir Garlon (1264) on Friday February 21 2014, @04:05PM (#4389)

        I think that label fits. What can we do about it?

        --
        [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 2) by dyingtolive on Friday March 28 2014, @07:33PM

        by dyingtolive (952) on Friday March 28 2014, @07:33PM (#22650)

        Yes. Yes it is.

        --
        Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by forsythe on Friday February 21 2014, @05:52AM

      by forsythe (831) on Friday February 21 2014, @05:52AM (#4111)

      Perhaps in the near future it will be recommended to save genetic material from when you're in your prime, to be used when financially ready. Perhaps a bit trans-humanistic, but not too far removed from in vitro.

      • (Score: 1) by jimshatt on Friday February 21 2014, @07:55AM

        by jimshatt (978) on Friday February 21 2014, @07:55AM (#4155) Journal
        I believe it's not the genetic material itself that deteriorates, but rather the sperm (and production thereof). I don't know how well you can keep sperm on ice, but it might be an option to harvest gametes (both female eggs and male sperm) at a younger age and keep them for reproduction later.
        You might not want to have kids in their puberty in you house when you're 55+, so don't delay too much. That would be my advice.
        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday February 21 2014, @08:56PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday February 21 2014, @08:56PM (#4536) Homepage Journal

          Voice of experience here, having disabled kids is the least of your worries if you're going to be an older parent. I had my first kid when I was 35 and my ex-wife was 30. My oldest daughter's autistic. Younger daughter is two years younger and gifted (takes after her old man).

          When you're 20 it's not all that hard to get up at 3:00 AM to feed and diaper the baby, hell, when I was 20 I'd drink 'til 3 and show up at work bright and bushy tailed. But at 35 it's hell. It would be worse at 40. By the time my kids were grown I was over 50. My daughters are delaying their parenthood as well, so it's unlikely I'll ever meet any grandchildren I may have, and if I live long enough to they won't remember me.

          Have 'em young. Just don't have more than two.

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Hartree on Friday February 21 2014, @04:29AM

    by Hartree (195) on Friday February 21 2014, @04:29AM (#4075)

    Those in their prime breeding years tend to have relatively few health problems, as it directly influences how well they pass on their genes. Evolution has much less driving it to weed out health problems that only afflict the old. (Yes, there are kin selection advantages from having grandparents around to help out, but if you reproduce at 20 then the grandparents are only 40.)

    Unless, of course, some small fraction of older people still reproduce. We're tending to delay childbearing in many societies. That may over the very long term help to weed out some of the early onset aging problems we have. Like the major ramping up in heart attacks and other cardiovascular disease that starts in the 40s.

    Perhaps in a few thousand years we'll even start to see a delay in the onset of menopause to a later age.

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:50AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @04:50AM (#4083)

      In a few thousand years, menopause will occur at the same age as it does now, and the foolish golddiggers who waited too long to bear children will have been removed from the gene pool by their inevitable deaths. Delaying childbearing until after menopause is a serious sociological problem, but it is not a biological problem.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @03:00PM (#4337)
        How cute. You sound like one of those sociopaths who thinks that anyone who can't or won't have children should commit suicide.
  • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @05:07AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @05:07AM (#4089)

    I'm wondering if another woman is the answer we really need.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Freeman on Friday February 21 2014, @04:22PM

    by Freeman (732) on Friday February 21 2014, @04:22PM (#4400) Journal

    In other news, the consumption of H20 has been linked to death.

    --
    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by sbgen on Friday February 21 2014, @04:28PM

    by sbgen (1302) on Friday February 21 2014, @04:28PM (#4406)

    Enjoyed reading a well written and logical article on technical papers with peer-reviewed references to back it up (albeit some of them are behind pay-wall ex: articles in Nature Genetics).

    That new mutations occur in aging man's sperm is the data; that these mutations affect RAS-pathway in Apert syndrome is data; that RAS affects cell division and proliferation is data. But saying such mutations contribute to enlarged brain/complex psychiatric disorders/(insert your favorite worry here), and may be of concern to the human species due to later child-bearing by men is a leap of faith; it needs data. The article itself makes it clear (on page 3) - the large increase in risk should be kept in perspective, the original risk is pretty rare to begin with. These are really early days in the genetics field about the effect of age on health of progeny; data is accumulating slowly, more so for fathers than for mothers. So I would say there is not sufficient data to panic yet.

    Article is worth a read, compliments to the writer and submitter.

    --
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