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Early intellectual gap found for kids of older fathers

Children with older fathers score lower on cognitive tests than those with younger fathers, regardless of mothers’ ages, a new study finds

Father knows best, but his kids might fall a bit short if he conceives them after age 50. Children of older fathers lag somewhat behind children fathered by younger men on a battery of intellectual tests, at least until age 7, according to a reanalysis of data from a large U.S. study.

This cognitive disadvantage occurred regardless of mothers’ ages, says a team led by psychiatrist John McGrath of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Still, children of older fathers generally scored well within the normal range on the intelligence tests.

In contrast, children with older mothers scored higher than those with younger mothers on cognitive tests, regardless of fathers’ ages, the researchers report online March 9 in PLoS MEDICINE.

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