Paternal Age May Influence Bipolar Risk in Offspring

September 3, 2008

Children of older fathers may have a higher risk of bipolar disorder, and family-focused therapy along with medication is effective in treating bipolar-related depression in adolescents, according to the results of two studies published in the September issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Children of older fathers may have a higher risk of bipolar disorder, and family-focused therapy along with medication is effective in treating bipolar-related depression in adolescents, according to the results of two studies published in the September issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

In the first study, Emma M. Frans, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues analyzed data from a case-control study with 13,428 subjects with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder on at least two hospital admissions, with each subject matched to five healthy controls. Children of men aged 55 and older had an adjusted odds ratio of 1.37 of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder compared to children of men aged 20 to 24. For early-onset disease, the odds ratio was 2.63 for fathers aged 50 and older, the researchers report.

In the other study, David J. Miklowitz, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado in Boulder, and colleagues analyzed data from 58 adolescents with bipolar spectrum disorder who were randomized to receive either 21 sessions of family-focused therapy or enhanced care with three family sessions, each given along with pharmacotherapy. The family-focused therapy participants recovered from baseline depression symptoms more rapidly and spent less time in depressive episodes, the authors found.

"Personality of older fathers has been suggested to explain the association between mental disorders and advancing paternal age. However, the mental disorders associated with increasing paternal age are under considerable genetic influence. Advanced paternal age is known to be associated with autosomal dominant disorders and with disorders having a more complex genetic cause," Frans and colleagues write.

Several co-authors of the second study disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies and book royalties.

Abstract - FransFull Text (subscription or payment may be required)Abstract - MiklowitzFull Text (subscription or payment may be required)

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