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Cereb Cortex. 2012 Jun;22(6):1256-62. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhr194. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Parental age effects on cortical morphology in offspring.

Author information

1
Child Psychiatry Branch, Intramural Program of the National Institute of Mental Health, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2B4, Canada.

Abstract

The age at which a parent has a child impacts the child's cognition and risk for mental illness. It appears that this risk is curvilinear, with both age extremes associated with lower intelligence and increased prevalence of some neuropsychiatric disorders. Little is known of the neural mechanisms underpinning this phenomenon. We extracted lobar volumes, surface areas, and cortical thickness from 489 neuroanatomic magnetic resonance images acquired on 171 youth. Using linear mixed model regression, we determined the association between parental age and offspring's neuroanatomy, adjusting for offspring's age, sex, intelligence, and parental socioeconomic class. For gray matter volumes, quadratic paternal and maternal age terms contributed significantly (maternal quadratic age effect: t = -2.2, P = 0.03; paternal quadratic age effect: t = -2.4, P = 0.02) delineating an inverted "U" relationship between parental age and gray matter volume. Cortical volume increased with both advancing paternal and maternal age until around the early 30s after which it fell. Paternal age effects were more pronounced on cortical surface area, whereas maternal age impacted more on cortical thickness. There were no significant effects of parental age on white matter volumes. These parental age effects on cerebral morphology may form part of the link between parental age extremes and suboptimal neurocognitive outcomes.

PMID:
21817090
PMCID:
PMC3357175
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bhr194
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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