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Neurodevelopmental outcome in offspring conceived by parents at advanced parental age

Project description

Health of children from older parents

Worldwide, a growing number of couples decide to have their first child at age 35 years and above. This increase in parental age has raised concern over the health of children. Several studies highlight the link between advanced age and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia. To gain a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the onset and progression of these disorders, an assessment of the neurological and psychiatric features of children born from parents at advanced age is required. The EU-funded NeuroAPA project aims to identify the structural and functional abnormalities in the adult brain of children from parents aged 35 and older, which may contribute to the increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders.


In current society, a growing number of individuals is affected by mental disorders, thus representing a burden with significant health, social and economic consequences. Notwithstanding, the ethiology of mental disorders is still not fully understood, there is a growing evidence that current trend to delay first childbirth above age of 35 is a factor of risk for the onset of mental disorders (i.e. autism, schizophrenia) in resulting offspring. This “new” reproductive trend, caused by social and economic factors, has already allowed the birth of millions of babies worldwide. In the last decade, epidemiological studies have suggested that children conceived at advanced maternal age are at higher risk of autism spectrum disorders as well as psychotic and/or bipolar disorder and those conceived at advanced paternal age at higher risk of autism and schizophrenia. However, data from population-based investigation are often controversial, due to several confounding factors (i.e. health, socio-economic status, lifestyle), and information from animal studies are still limited. In this context, the assessment of neurological and/or psychiatric health of offspring conceived at advanced parental age (APA) is urgently needed. Moreover, understanding the mechanism(s) behind increased risk of mental affliction (i.e. autism and/or schizophrenia) will contribute to the identification of novel marker for neurologic/psychiatric disorders with a significant impact on basic science, society and health care services.“NeuroAPA” aims to identify structural and functional abnormalities in adult brain which may contribute to the increased risk of psychiatric disorders (i.e. autism, schizophrenia) in offspring conceived by parents at advanced parental age.


Net EU contribution
€ 175 572,48
2573 HT 's-Gravenhage (Den Haag)

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Agglomeratie ’s-Gravenhage
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 175 572,48