Sunday, August 26, 2012

The real reason why old dads have autistic kids?

Neil Armstrong has died at the age of 82. An understated man, his was one of the enduring images of the 20th century. Seeing those grainy pictures on your black-and-white Grundig must have been quite stunning.

On Thursday there was an item in the news linking paternal age to autism. The older the father, the more mutations the baby is likely to have, hence more developmental problems including autism. But hang on a sec. My hunch (and it's only a hunch) is that autistic fathers have their children at an older age, on average, than neurotypical fathers. Since autism is partly hereditary you would therefore expect the prevalence of autism in newborn babies to increase with the father's age, if my hunch is correct.

Yesterday's planned Somes Island trip (I won't call it a tramp - the island isn't really big enough for that) was a no-go: I walked to the ferry terminal only to find the 10:30 sailing had been cancelled due to high winds that by Wellington standards weren't all that high (today has been a different matter).

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