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Parental age and risk of bipolar disorder in offspring

We investigated prospectively documented parental age and bipolar disorder (BD) in a multi-ethnic birth cohort. The study was based on a nested case-control design from the Child Health and Development Study (CHDS) birth cohort from 1959 to 1966. Potential cases with BD were ascertained by database linkages between CHDS, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Plan (KPNC), and Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services, and mailed questionnaires. Consensus diagnoses with the SCID for DSM-IV-TR were made. The total number of BD cases was 94. Controls (N=746) were selected from the birth cohort and matched on date of birth, sex, and KPNC membership or residence in Alameda County. For every 10-year increment of paternal age, there was no significant association with BD, adjusting for maternal age. There was also no significant association between maternal age, modeled in 10-year increments, and risk of BD after adjustment for paternal age and maternal race, although there was a suggestion for a protective relationship between increasing maternal age and BD with psychotic features. These findings suggest that if advanced paternal age is a risk factor for BD, the strength of the relationship is small.

Authors: Brown A; Bao Y; McKeague I; Shen L; Schaefer C

Psychiatry Res. 2013 Aug 15;208(3):225-31. Epub 2013-06-19.

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