Parental Age and Autism: An Analysis of Surveillance Data from New Jersey

Walter Zahorodny, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Pauline Thomas, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Bo Peng, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

A number of studies have investigated whether certain parental and prenatal factors are associated with autism. Some have found that advanced paternal and maternal age are significant. However most of these studies have been conducted in relatively homogenous populations. This study investigated an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) case population derived from active, population-based surveillance in four New Jersey counties. This surveillance was part of the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Two birth cohorts (1992 and 1994) were linked to their birth certificates and compared with population controls. A set of adjusted and unadjusted odds ratios were estimated through logistic regression. Results suggest little effect of parental age. However, there were some notable differences by race. In particular, where the mother’s race was black, the effect of maternal and paternal age on the probability of autism was greater, although most of this effect disappeared in the adjusted models.

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Presented in Poster Session 4