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Older Fathers May be More Likely to Have Autistic Children

Men who wait to have children until they're in their 40s may be more likely to have autistic children than younger men, a study of 130,000 people found. Participants whose fathers were older were almost six times more likely to have autism or related disorders than those who were fathered by men younger than 30, and 1.5 times more likely than children fathered by men aged 30-39.

The study lends some support to the theory that impaired genes may cause or trigger autism, but there are many other correlations to autism as well, including mercury-containing vaccines -- studies have found that children who receive thimerosal-containing vaccinations are 27 times more likely to develop autism than children who do not -- and pasteurized milk.

But, whatever the cause, there are many strategies that typically provide enormous improvement in children with autism, such as adopting not only a gluten- and casein-free diet, but also restricting other grains like rice, corn and potatoes.

Archives of General Psychiatry September 2006;63:1026-1032

USA Today September 4, 2006