Mum's advanced age 'doesn't harm kids' health later in life'
Washington, September 7 (ANI): As opposed to the notion that advanced maternal age has a negative impact on the health of grown-up children, researchers have claimed that the mother's education and the number of years she survives after giving birth and spends with her offspring is what actually has an impact.
It had been previously thought that mothers delivering later in life have children that are less healthy as adults, because the body of the mother has already degenerated due to physiological effects like decreasing oocyte quality or a weakened placenta.
According to the calculation of Mikko Myrskyla from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, who carried out the research with data from 18,000 US children and their mothers, children born to mothers aged between 35 and 44 years are no less healthy later in life than those whose mothers delivered between ages 25 and 34.
While it is still true that higher maternal age brings a greater risk of miscarriage and conditions like Trisomy 21, says Myrskyla, "with respect to adult age early births appear to be more dangerous for children than late ones."
Children born to mothers aged 24 and younger have a higher number of diagnosed conditions, die earlier, remain smaller in size and are more likely to be obese as adults.
This is what Max Planck scientist Myrskyla discovered when he adjusted the US health data for the actual factors, the mother's education and date of death, which only simulates a negative effect of maternal age.
When not correcting for these elements, adult offspring were in fact ill more often if they were born to older mothers. The adult children of women delivering between ages 35 and 44 appeared to have about ten percent higher incidence of health conditions than those born to mothers aged 25 to 34.
However, in Myrskyla's corrected analysis the health effect shrank to under five percent and therefore lost its statistical significance.
In other words, the negative effect of advanced maternal age up to 45 years vanishes into thin air.
"The data suggests that what at first looks seems like a negative advanced maternal age effect is an illusion driven by the mother's education and the age at which the child loses the mother," Myrskyla said.
For younger mothers, the picture looks different - the earlier in life women give birth the more their children suffer from illnesses as adults. Children born to mothers between age 20 and 24 suffer from 5 percent more diseases than those born to mothers aged 25 to 34.
The value is much higher, approximately 15 percent for those born to mothers aged 14 to 19 years. These results are statistically significant, and robust to correcting for the mother's education or other confounding factors.
The two crucial most crucial factors for offspring adult health turned out to be the mother's education and the number of years the mother and child were alive at the same time.
The earlier a child lost her mother the worse her health was as an adult, which could be due to psychological effects accompanying the experience of losing a mother early, or because the time during which she could support her child economically and emotionally was shorter. (ANI)
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