Older paternal and maternal age is associated with having a child with autism, according to a study from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

Researchers compared 68 age- and sex-matched, case-control pairs from their research center at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. They found fathers who had children with autism were on average 5.9 years older than men who did not have a child with autism; mothers with autistic children were 6.5 years older.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are complex, neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication and repetitive, sometimes obsessive, behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a conservative estimate is that one in every 100 children has an ASD.

The study was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.