Latest Autism Risk: Old Moms and Dads

Suzanne Murray

Photo by Shinde-Kudasai

Getting pregnant when you're over 40 has its risks: miscarriage, stillbirths, and Down syndrome, to name a few. Now experts are saying you can add autism to that list. Researchers at the University of California studied millions of parents and found that women who gave birth after 40 were twice as likely to have a child with autism as a women under 25.

But the increased risk is small. Only 5 percent of the increased risk has to do with the mom's age, say the researchers. Other risk factors also play a part: Genes and the age of the dad (though it's not as significant as the mom's).

The researchers say that while parental age is a risk factor, it is not a cause of autism.

Are you over 40? Does the study worry you?

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