Advanced maternal age? for moms with autism/aspergers kiddos. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 12-17-2011, 12:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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does advanced maternal age (hah!) have a significant bearing on the odds of having a child with autism/aspergers? anecdata- i know a mom who gave birth in her early forties whose child is PPD-NOS. then there is another friend, late thirties, whose child presents as NT. if you don't mind sharing, how old were you when you gave birth?

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#2 of 21 Old 12-17-2011, 05:24 AM
 
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Maternal and paternal age may or may not factor into it. I was 17 when my birthdaughter was born- she's on the spectrum.

 

It's really tough, though, to establish a true genetic history as not too long ago, most people with severe ASDs were thought to "just" have mental retardation or mental illness, and those with mild ASDs were thought to just be cranky old curmudgeons. The incidence of an autistic person having an engineer of some sort, or other mechanically minded person, within 2 generations, is very high. There are soft markers in families that aren't noticed until (and sometimes not even then) a child in the family is diagnosed.

 

That said, there is research that shows an increased correlation with maternal and paternal age and autism, but this doesn't mean advanced maternal/paternal age *causes* autism. I suspect that some people who choose to not have kids until later in life will sometimes have a higher number of markers in their own genetics- the reason they wait is *caused* by those markers. Does that make sense?

 

 

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#3 of 21 Old 12-17-2011, 05:31 AM
 
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Most of the spectrum kids I know have at least one parent on the spectrum.  And often other relatives - aunts, uncles, cousins.  IMO autism is hella genetic. 


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#4 of 21 Old 12-17-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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Seems to have a genetic component in our case as well. I was 20 when I had my first son who is on the spectrum.


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#5 of 21 Old 12-17-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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Advanced paternal age increases the risk of an ASD when the mother is under 30.  Advanced maternal age also increases the risk of ASD. 

 

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208102411.htm

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/health/09autism.html

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#6 of 21 Old 12-17-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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I was in my early 30s when both my kids were born. DD#1 is on the spectrum, DD#2 is NT.

 

My DH is seriously quirky and I do wonder what he would have been labeled as a child if he had lived in a time in and place where evals were common. He's from a different country, and obviously well into his 40's now.

 

I don't think our age caused autism, but the fact that he is a quirky late bloomer did play into why he wasn't ready to be a parent until his mid 30s.


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#7 of 21 Old 12-17-2011, 03:22 PM
 
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I was 25 when I had my child on the spectrum.  When i was a child and diagnosed with NVLD, there was a lot of adult whispering of "looks like autism but she speaks so well" around me when I was initially tested, and from what I saw during the ADOS and the interview process for my son, I think by today's standards I would fit along the spectrum.  My Dad is seriously quirky (right now there are there are 7 boats being built in my parent's yard as a "hobby" and everyone knows his sailing plans for next summer).  Both sides of DH's and my family have a lot of engineers, one physicist (my uncle) and some computer scientists, and a lot of musicians, all fields with higher incidences of having a child on the spectrum.  Anyway, I'm with genetics as the risk factor over age. 


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#8 of 21 Old 12-18-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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I was 27.

Dh was 24.


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#9 of 21 Old 12-18-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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Simply saying that age increases risk doesn't mean that autism doesn't occur in kids born to younger mothers. Those studies look at trends across large groups.

 

Simply because autism has a genetic component doesn't mean age doesn't play a factor. Autism is likely to be an interaction between genes and environment. It is also probably more than one disease, like cancer. 

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#10 of 21 Old 12-18-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverTam View Post

Simply saying that age increases risk doesn't mean that autism doesn't occur in kids born to younger mothers. Those studies look at trends across large groups.

 

Simply because autism has a genetic component doesn't mean age doesn't play a factor. Autism is likely to be an interaction between genes and environment. It is also probably more than one disease, like cancer. 


I'm generally in agreement with this, but the problem is that it is hard in these studies to sort out what is cause and what is effect.  As stated in previous posts, one tricky cause and effect is that people on the spectrum (diagnosed or not diagnosed) have social difficulties, so they may find love and marriage later.  I know a few people who met their first girlfriend/boyfriend in their late thirties and early forties (one of whom does have a child on the spectrum).  What factors lead to them finding deep connection so late in life might play a role as much as the age.  It's certainly likely that genetics, environment and age all play a factor, but what is difficult is knowing if they are all primary factors or if one is secondary.  It would take some pretty intense interviewing, testing and background info on the parents to sort it out.  And controls for prevalence of autism in the family are tricky due to lack of precise diagnostic criteria and awareness of autism in the past.  Also, some cultures and job fields are more tolerant of the differences of behavior in autistic people, so they may be under-diagnosed.  I had a neighbour recently claiming that autism is almost an exclusively North American disease and is rarely seen in Africa, and she was quoting some statistics.  The problem is, I'm not sure if in Africa, cases would be diagnosed as readily as here.  Statistics are great tools to leading to answers, but it takes some pretty complex examination of them to understand their cause.

 


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#11 of 21 Old 12-18-2011, 12:08 PM
 
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"Learning to live with autism in Ethiopia"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14991267

 

"Protein found in brain cells may be key to autism"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12759587

 

Autistic brains' 'genes differ'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13539922

 

Two views at the same study: "The scientists discovered a 67 percent excess of cortical cells -- a type of brain cell only made before birth -- in children with autism."

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108200522.htm

 

(fixed link) http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/11/autism-what-big-prefrontal-cortex-you.html

 

 

As for age issue, I agree with PP that late bloomers have kids later in life, so it's a consequence, not a cause.

 
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#12 of 21 Old 12-18-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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Cool links.  One other thought that occurred to me:  Many people who choose to delay having children have higher education levels as well.  They might be more likely to seek identification of the disorder for their children.


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#13 of 21 Old 12-18-2011, 02:04 PM
 
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Had to edit my previous post to fix a link.

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#14 of 21 Old 12-18-2011, 02:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View Post

Cool links.  One other thought that occurred to me:  Many people who choose to delay having children have higher education levels as well.  They might be more likely to seek identification of the disorder for their children.



While DH and I aren't PhDs, we are pretty smart. We do kid that, if we were "any dumber" we'd just think V was ridiculously advanced- she has probably 100-200 words (mostly labels for everything) and she's heavily echolalic and can parrot pretty complicated words and phrases, though is just now at 24-months starting to pair (non-meaningful and non-sensical, but still! Progress!) two words together. She can play very happily by herself for hours and hours, never seeking help or attention. If we hadn't realized that she's echolalic, we would currently be bragging about the 5-7 word sentences she says instead of wishing that she'd just use "no" meaningfully, and if we didn't realize that her attachment to us is "off," we'd just think she was crazy independent. It would be really easy to see her as being super ahead of the curve, I think, instead of having pretty big delays in some areas.


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#15 of 21 Old 12-18-2011, 04:05 PM
 
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While DH and I aren't PhDs, we are pretty smart. We do kid that, if we were "any dumber" we'd just think V was ridiculously advanced- she has probably 100-200 words (mostly labels for everything) and she's heavily echolalic and can parrot pretty complicated words and phrases, though is just now at 24-months starting to pair (non-meaningful and non-sensical, but still! Progress!) two words together. She can play very happily by herself for hours and hours, never seeking help or attention. If we hadn't realized that she's echolalic, we would currently be bragging about the 5-7 word sentences she says instead of wishing that she'd just use "no" meaningfully, and if we didn't realize that her attachment to us is "off," we'd just think she was crazy independent. It would be really easy to see her as being super ahead of the curve, I think, instead of having pretty big delays in some areas.


It occurs to me this could be taken to mean that I think parents who didn't pick up on their kids' differences until the kids were older are "dumber" than we are- that's not what I mean at all, I hope no one takes offense! 

 


Doctors aren't out to kill you or your children. Childbirth isn't inherently safe. Science is actually smarter than your intuition. Lighten up. Use sunscreen.

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#16 of 21 Old 12-19-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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Best friend thought she was going through menopause - nope she was pregnant.  She was 42 when she had her son, her husband was 55.  He's completely NT


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#17 of 21 Old 12-20-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Village Mama View Post

Seems to have a genetic component in our case as well. I was 20 when I had my first son who is on the spectrum.



Same here. I was 20 when my ASD kiddo was born and I also feel there's a genetic component.


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#18 of 21 Old 12-26-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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I gave birth to my now 2-year-old newly-diagnosed ASD son when I was 24.  We have a daughter now who was born earlier at just about 26.  The verdict is out on her. but regardless... doesn't seem my age has made a positive difference for me at this point.

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#19 of 21 Old 12-29-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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29 when I had my DS who has autism.  I believe it is totally genetic. 

 

I think in general, older women are more prone to having babies with genetic abnormalities which can manifest as autism or other disorders.  That is why more genetic testing is offered to women aged 35 and older.  Also, older women are more likely to participate in fertility procedures which I think can increase chances of genetic disorders (this is what DS doctor mentioned). 

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#20 of 21 Old 03-27-2012, 06:33 AM
 
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Just tested positive, I'll be 43 and husband 49 at due date. Been voraciously consuming info and making myself a little nuts. Husband is a quirky engineer; his father a doctor; a great-grandfather was also very mechanically inclined. I have Graves and just learned that autoimmune disorders increase the risk of autism by a hundred billion or so :-( Is our child doomed to a positive dx??

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#21 of 21 Old 03-28-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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@mmmdonuts: Congratulations! I hope all goes well!!! Based on info that is out there now, here's what I would have done if I could go back in time with my first pregnancy. Diet: avoid all GMO's, factory farm meat and any artificial ingredients. Make sure any beef you eat is grass fed. Avoid dairy and gluten. Take fish oil - make sure it is pure and contains no metals. Once the the baby arrives delay all vax for at least first 2 years. Breastfeed and continue to avoid dairy and gluten so the proteins don't pass into milk. Don't start any solids until 6 months. Breastfeed for 2 years at least so baby will not need cow's milk. Again, this is what I would do if I could go back in time. GOOD LUCK!

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