70-year-old dads have a better chance of spawning a dimwit than of being killed by a terrorist


Luckily, Hugh Hefner’s kids can grow up to be pimps or porn stars (its in the blood) so they won’t have to worry too much about those pesky SATs.  

This is clearly a smidgen of feminist schadenfreude on my part but my favorite headline in The Times today was “Older Fathers Linked to Lower I.Q. Scores”.

A new study published yesterday in the online journal PLoS Medicine, found that the children of older fathers scored lower than the offspring of younger fathers on I.Q. tests and a range of other cognitive measures. Earlier studies have found a higher incidence of schizophrenia and autism among the offspring of men who were in their mid-to-late 40s or older when they had children.

As Nelson (the bully from The Simpsons) would say, ha, ha.

Now, I’m no professor of psychiatry at the Queensland Brain Institute in Brisbane, Australia, but are they sure this is all due to “a steady beat of mutations happening in the dad’s sperm”?  Because there are other factors. The assholeness of these dads (think Michael Douglas, or some of the other men of Advanced Paternal Age at Babble.com’s amusing “Boys Still Swim” tag) and then there’s the bimbo-ness of the young moms who choose to marry geezers. Surely, they’re carrying the flunk that IQ test gene?

But what’s important is that the furlough that is men’s fertility is being taken under advisement. “I think there has been a bit of a cultural bias against even looking at this issue, but finally people are willing to entertain this,” Dr. Dolores Malaspina, a professor of psychiatry at New York University Medical Center told the Times today.

There's been a long tradition of the media frightening the bejesus out of female ambition and sending career gals scurrying home to avoid the emotional void of barrenness and to get a jump on the mommy track.  A few years ago, Newsweek apologized for their alarmist 1986 cover story that predicted that “a single, 40-year-old woman had a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married."

But even recently, other publications and broadcast newsmagazines have cautioned women to bide their biological clock; don’t count on your fertility to wait for you, they caution.

So its nice to hear that maybe dads cant have it all either. Warren Beatty may never stop being a heartthrob, but his chromosomes are getting a little shabby.  And Tony Randall? Schizophrenia and stupidity? A pretty big gamble to keep proving to people that you weren’t gay.

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