Older dads make healthier children, says study

A new study published online in the early edition of the PNAS journal has claimed that older Dads may be linked with health benefits for their children, and grandchildren.

Older dads linked to healthier children

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 12th June 2012

The claim is based on research into telomeres, which are tips on the ends of chromosomes.  In previous studies, these have been linked with better health and a number of researchers believe they may be linked with ‘longevity’.  As you get older, telomeres contract but previous studies have shown that the older a man is when he becomes a father, the longer the telomeres his children tend to have. The new study has confirmed these findings, and has also discovered that this also extends to grandchildren.

Research

The researchers conducted a large, multigenerational study in the Philippines which involved an analysis of telomeres in blood samples.  The first analysis, of around 2,000 fathers between the ages of 15-43 confirmed that the older your father is, the longer your telomeres are.  Analysis was then carried out on father’s fathers, which found that the contribution from grandfathers adds to the fathers.  This included data from 234 grandchildren

Conclusion

The study concluded that ‘this finding suggests a mechanism by which humans could extend late-life function as average age at reproduction is delayed within a lineage’.

Source:  The Associated Press, Older dads linked to grandkid health, study hints, 12th June 2012

Photography: Declan Kelly @Flickr

 

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