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Raising Special Needs Kids Raising Special Needs Kids

How Dads Affect a Baby's Risk of Autism

Posted by on Jun. 7, 2014 at 10:52 AM
  • 12 Replies

How Dads Affect a Baby's Risk of Autism

by Maressa Brown

baby with father Whether they're nodding to stress hormones one week or diet the next, researchers are constantly trying to pin down which genetics and/or environmental factors are responsible for raising a child's risk of autism. The curiosity is understandable, considering that about one in 68 U.S. children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the latest stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While much of what we see cropping up in the news is related to moms and pregnancy health, studies are also looking at how fathers are a part of the picture. Here, four ways research has shown men could be contributing to autism risk ...

  1. Dad's job: Dads who worked in engineering were twice as likely as dads who work in non-technical fields to have a kid on the autism spectrum, according to recent research from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. And dads who work in finance are four times as likely to have kids with autism, while fathers in the health care industry are six times as likely. (A mother's job wasn't shown to be linked with the spectrum disorder, unless she's in a technical field and the father is, as well.) The bottom line here isn't that dads who work in these fields are to blame for happening to like crunching numbers or building tunnels. Or that they should quit! Their occupations just serve to help health care providers arrive at a diagnosis more quickly. According to lead author of the study Aisha S. Dickerson, PhD, "Parental occupation could be indicative of autistic-like behaviors and preferences and serve as another factor in a clinician’s diagnosis of a child with suspected autism."
  2. Grandfather's job: A 1997 study done by Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and director of the Autism Research Center, found that 21.2 percent of grandfathers of children with autism had been engineers, compared with only 2.5 percent of grandfathers of children without autism. His guess why: When two technically minded people (engineers, for instance, or computer programmers) have a baby, they may pass down linked groups of genes that provide "useful cognitive talents but also increase their children’s chances of developing autism."
  3. Dad's age: Older fathers were found more likely to have children with ASD, likely due to age-related genetic mutations, in a study published in the journal Nature. The risk was only about 2 percent higher for men 40 and older, but it could explain the rising rates of autism we've seen in recent years, as the average age of fathers has increased in the same time period. A similar study found that children born to a 45-year-old man were 3.5 times more likely to have autism.
  4. Dad's weight: Researchers found that of nearly 93,000 Norwegian children they followed, those born to obese dads had double the risk of developing autism, according to a study published this past April in the journal Pediatrics. Still, just under 0.3 percent were diagnosed with autism versus 0.14 percent of kids with normal-weight fathers. (Mothers' obesity was not tied to a heightened autism risk, according to these findings.) While researchers aren't sure how to explain the link just yet, lead researcher Dr. Pal Suren, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, hypothesizes that certain gene variations may be linked to heightened risks of both obesity and autism. Or obese men might be more likely to have certain environmental exposures that contribute to autism risk.

Essentially, all of these findings -- while eye-opening in different ways -- do appear to offer us all one common thing: A better understanding of autism diagnosis, which may mean better care for our kids.

How does this research influence how you think about autism risk?

Do you think we will ever really know what does and doesn't contribute to Autism?

by on Jun. 7, 2014 at 10:52 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Momof4AEMW
by Gold Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Don't care.  No, I don't read the articles anymore.  Everyday it is something new to blame that the parents did or did not do.  At this stage in our life I'm more concerned with help for my kids comfort and functionality in life for happy beings

SamMom912
by Silver Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Im with momof4... Id really like more research on helping the 1/68 ya know- the kids that are currently effected. I mean, I get that stopping the numbers from growing is important to the health/welth/welfare of our country... But Id really like some resources to be spent on the children that do have it. 

Can Some of that money spent on paying someone 85,000 a year to collect data that let me know my FIL was an engineer and my hubby works in engineering and finance that my son who current exists HAS a higher chance of being ASD I mean, WE know he is ASD... I dont need research to tell me why as much as I need help for him... I mean, that 85,000 would have paid for a lot of support services... LOL

Reina13
by Bronze Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 11:58 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting SamMom912:

Im with momof4... Id really like more research on helping the 1/68 ya know- the kids that are currently effected. I mean, I get that stopping the numbers from growing is important to the health/welth/welfare of our country... But Id really like some resources to be spent on the children that do have it. 

Can Some of that money spent on paying someone 85,000 a year to collect data that let me know my FIL was an engineer and my hubby works in engineering and finance that my son who current exists HAS a higher chance of being ASD I mean, WE know he is ASD... I dont need research to tell me why as much as I need help for him... I mean, that 85,000 would have paid for a lot of support services... LOL

I completely agree. Yes it is important to know the cause, but sometimes I think that research money should be spent more on how to help rather than on how it happened. 

SnortysMom
by Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 3:52 PM
1 mom liked this

I agree, every week is another "cause" of autism in the news. I don't bother reading them anymore. 

Quoting Momof4AEMW:

Don't care.  No, I don't read the articles anymore.  Everyday it is something new to blame that the parents did or did not do.  At this stage in our life I'm more concerned with help for my kids comfort and functionality in life for happy beings


Jenn8604
by Bronze Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 3:54 PM
It was the dad breathing while having sex to conceive the child that caused it.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
arkansasmama08
by Gold Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 4:50 PM
Frankly, I dont see how dads weight or occupation, barring him working directly with dangerous chemicals maybe, have anything to do with anything. Our culture is to blame I think. Look at all the chemicals and fake food we pour into our bodies and then wonder when things start not working right. Know what I mean? But anyway, I end my rant. I'm with the rest of you. I'm 3 for 3 right now and am far less concerned about why than what we can do to help them succeed now that they're here.
mandee1503
by Amanda on Jun. 8, 2014 at 6:08 AM
1 mom liked this
*snort* yep this!

Quoting Jenn8604: It was the dad breathing while having sex to conceive the child that caused it.
darbyakeep45
by Darby on Jun. 8, 2014 at 6:28 AM
1 mom liked this

I agree 100%.

Quoting Momof4AEMW:

Don't care.  No, I don't read the articles anymore.  Everyday it is something new to blame that the parents did or did not do.  At this stage in our life I'm more concerned with help for my kids comfort and functionality in life for happy beings


Jenn8604
by Bronze Member on Jun. 8, 2014 at 9:18 AM
1 mom liked this
I read them for laughs :) because every single one is wrong.

Quoting Momof4AEMW:

Don't care.  No, I don't read the articles anymore.  Everyday it is something new to blame that the parents did or did not do.  At this stage in our life I'm more concerned with help for my kids comfort and functionality in life for happy beings

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
blue.butterfly
by New Member on Jun. 8, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Ridiculous. 

Sigh...

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