Researchers found a link between a fathers age and lifestyle can lead to lifelong physical and mental problems in his children as well as future generations.

Researchers conducted a review of so-called epigenetic environmental effects that alter the activity of genes passed on by men.

New research, published in the American Journal of Stem Cells, found a host of examples where a father’s age, lifestyle and experience can lead to problems in his children, reports The Mirror.

Dads who are older when conceiving, for instance, were linked with raised rates of schizophrenia, autism and birth defects.

Paternal obesity was linked to enlarged fat cells, metabolic changes, diabetes and a propensity to put on weight, and an increased risk of brain cancer.

Fathers affected by stress passed on a susceptibility to defective behavioural traits.

US senior investigator Dr Joanna Kitlinska, from Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington DC, said: “We know the nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring.

“But our study shows the same thing to be true with fathers. His lifestyle, and how old he is, can be reflected in molecules that control gene function.

“In this way, a father can affect not only his immediate offspring, but future generations as well.”

Newborn babies diagnosed with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) – a wide range of problems normally associated with drinking during pregnancy – even though their mothers had never touched alcohol.

Dr Kitlinska said: “Up to 75 per cent of children with FASD have biological fathers who are alcoholics, suggesting that pre-conceptual paternal alcohol consumption negatively impacts their offspring.”

So it’s not all my fault? PHEW.

What do you think of this new research?

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  • I’ve been seeing this sort of research for a while now.


  • I sure believe this is true.


  • Very interesting. Genetics and so interesting


  • Genetics are such a complex area. Love the findings here!


  • such an interesting read, really got me thinking.


  • This is really interesting. I recently read that even our experiences before pregnancy can affect our children. We are truly amazing and complicated creatures.


  • We were considered quite old when we had our daughter. I was 36, my husband 39. Luckily my husband is a very calm person. I really believe that stress and alcohol consumption may affect a child behaviour.


  • Very interesting!!


  • Way to put even more blame on parents who are doing the best they can. These ‘researchers’ need to learn to put their grant money to better uses.


  • Interesting article,who would have thought the age would come into it!


  • Oh my gosh, I never would have thought FASD could be from dad too, even when mum doesn’t touch a drop. My hubby smoked, still does, I often feel bad about the damage this could have done to my kids

    • I know a lass who suffers from asthma and it is even worse when her dad smokes near her, so much so that she now knows to walk away from him as far as she can go. She showed signs of asthma within hours of birth.


  • Oh wow, no more blaming any problems solely on the mother. This is scary news actually.


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