Paternal age and general cognitive ability-a cross sectional study of Danish male conscripts

McGrath, John, Mortensen, Preben Bo, Pedersen, Carsten Bocker, Ehrenstein, Vera and Petersen, Liselotte (2013) Paternal age and general cognitive ability-a cross sectional study of Danish male conscripts. PLoS One, 8 10: e77444.1-e77444.8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077444


Author McGrath, John
Mortensen, Preben Bo
Pedersen, Carsten Bocker
Ehrenstein, Vera
Petersen, Liselotte
Title Paternal age and general cognitive ability-a cross sectional study of Danish male conscripts
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2013-10-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0077444
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 10
Start page e77444.1
End page e77444.8
Total pages 8
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Abstract Objectives: Offspring of older men have impaired cognitive ability as children, but it is unclear if this impairment persists into adulthood. The main objective of this study was to explore the association between paternal age at offspring birth and general cognitive ability as young adults.
Formatted abstract
Objectives: Offspring of older men have impaired cognitive ability as children, but it is unclear if this impairment persists into adulthood. The main objective of this study was to explore the association between paternal age at offspring birth and general cognitive ability as young adults.

Design: Population-based cross-sectional study with prospectively collected data on obstetric factors and parental education.

Setting: Nationwide Danish sample.

Participants: Male conscripts (n = 169,009).

Primary and secondary outcome measures: General cognitive ability as assessed by the Børge Priens test score, an intelligence test with components related to logical, verbal, numerical and spatial reasoning.

Results: We observed an inverse U-shaped association between paternal age and general cognitive ability (slightly lower test scores in the offspring of fathers aged less than 25 years and older than 40 years, compared with fathers aged 25 to 29 years). However, after adjustment for maternal age, parental education and birth order the shape of the association changed. Offspring of fathers younger than 20 still showed slightly lower cognitive ability (-1.11 (95% CI -1.68 to -0.54)), but no significant impairments were identified in the men whose fathers were older than 29 years at the time of their birth (e.g. the mean difference in test score in the offspring of fathers aged 40 to 44 years were -0.03 [95% CI (-0.27 to 0.20)] compared with fathers aged 25 to 29 years).

Conclusions: We did not find that the offspring of older fathers had impaired cognitive ability as young adults. Whereas, we found a tendency that the offspring of teen fathers have lower cognitive ability. Thus, our results suggest that any potentially deleterious effects of older fathers on general cognitive ability as young adults may be counter-balanced by other potentially beneficial factors.
Keyword Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
MULTIDISCIPLINARY SCIENCES
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
 
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