- Men's Health & Wellness
Beware of Junk Science Regarding Older Fathers
A. The Myth as Identified
Lately, all over the Internet, I’ve been coming across rumors that President-Elect Donald Trump’s youngest child, Barron Trump (age 10), may be suffering from autism. One of the major points that people have been making is that President-Elect Trump was 60 years old when he fathered Barron and that his advanced age as a father may be what is to blame for Barron’s alleged autism. I am not a Republican. However, I disbelieve these rumors, and I feel that they show great disrespect to our nation’s newly elected leader. Moreover, these rumors have made me so furious that I would like to take this opportunity to identify and elaborate on all the nonsense that has fueled them.
The reason that these rumors got started about Barron Trump could be anything. Perhaps the liberal media wishes to steer the spotlight away from Hillary Clinton’s erratic behavior that she has manifested towards her campaign staff and others. Therefore, they are viciously nitpicking at Barron for anything they can misrepresent as characteristics of autism. I say that they are nitpicking, because I have seen these online videos of Barron where these people have done so. However, none of them have proven anything about him beyond the probability that he was extremely tired when he had to appear on camera with his parents as most kids his age would be after following their parents around on a presidential campaign trail for over a year. Perhaps people who are afraid of losing their health insurance after the plug gets permanently pulled on Obamacare are attempting to strike a cord of concern in President-Elect Trump in an effort to convince him to allow for Obamacare to remain in existence indefinitely on the premise that having a son with serious health problems might change his mind. Who can really say? I am very disgusted with Rosie O'Donnell for fanning the flames of these rumors. I also realize that I am not alone in my disapproval of her actions in that respect. There is no known official medical diagnosis in existence that specifies whether or not Barron has autism, and, quite frankly, it is nobody's business whether or not there is one. Therefore, it should be the public's obligation to presume that Barron is not autistic and leave the subject alone from that point on.
A Public Outcry Against Rosie O'Donnell's Abhorrent Behavior
In any event, I must commend President-Elect Trump for doing everything he can to protect his youngest son from these rumors. Regardless of what anyone may feel about President-Elect Trump as for his ability to lead our nation, not even the most liberal of Democrats can deny that he is a good father. I wish that I had a father who cared about me as much as President-Elect Trump cares about his youngest son, Barron. Like most of you who are sensible, I really do not wish to speculate on why these rumors about Barron have started. However, I would like to enlighten the public at large about the facts behind whether or not fathers 45 years of age or older actually run greater risks than younger fathers of producing children with birth defects such as autism, Down’s Syndrome, or any other genetic disorder that could adversely affect a child’s ability to function in life properly.
B. A Genuine Perspective of Older Fathers
The most reliable source that I have found concerning the effect that a man being 45 years of age or older (an older father) would have on whether or not his offspring would be healthy and free of birth defects is a highly qualified American scientist named Dr. Dan Eisenberg. Dr. Eisenberg has done extensive research on the role of telomeres in how healthy an older father’s offspring would be, and he has found that children fathered by men over 45 years old have greater longevity than children fathered by younger men. (e.g. men in their twenties or early thirties.) This same benefit of longevity extends down to an older father’s grandchildren
I am one always to question the professional integrity of any scientific expert whose research I read about before I give that same individual my undivided credence. I have read into Dr. Eisenberg’s professional background, and I have found nothing objectionable about it. I strongly respect telomere research, because I have periodically followed the scientific career of a Professor Elizabeth Blackburn from Tasmania, Australia who has devoted a great chunk of her life to discovering the mysteries behind how telomeres influence one’s health and aging process. She is a highly respected science professor who currently has tenure at the University of California at Berkeley. Everything that Dr. Eisenberg says in his research study makes perfect sense to me, because Japan is a strong example that supports his findings. There was an episode of Real Time With Bill Maher a couple of years ago in which Bill Maher revealed that Japanese men have a tendency to put off romance and relationships as late as 35 years of age. There is even a group of men in Japan known as the Herbivore Men who engage in this practice of delaying relationships, marriage, and family to a later time in their life. Therefore, in that country, there are more men who are not getting married and starting families until their forties, fifties, and even sixties than in the United States of America. At the same time, Japanese men appear to live longer than men in most other parts of the world. It is quite common to meet a Japanese man who is over a hundred years old in that country. Oprah Winfrey revealed on her television talk show so many years ago that one is even still considered to be a kid in Japan until they are 52 years of age. Therefore, even a man in his early sixties would be viewed upon as a spring chicken in the Japanese culture. I would have to say that Dr. Eisenberg would be well received in Japan if he were ever to tour that country for any reason.
C. A Suspicious and Faulty Perspective of Older Fathers
On the other side of the medical-scientific spectrum, a very disturbing research study regarding older fathers has surfaced in the 21st century that should be discounted as nothing more and nothing less than as a superfluous worldwide scare. An Icelandic neurologist by the name of Dr. Kári Stefánsson and his organization, deCODE Genetics, performed a series of tests and examinations upon middle-aged Icelandic men to find out whether or not fathers over 45 years old were more likely than younger fathers to pass on genetic defects and mutations to their offspring. In this same faulty research study of his and his organization, he concluded that children born to fathers over 45 years of age stood a much greater likelihood to have Down’s Syndrome, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, lower IQs, and autism, among other things, as opposed to children born to younger fathers. I read all about Dr. Stefánsson’s so-called research, and nowhere did he actually do any kind of statistical study of children with those same birth defects, on a wide-scale basis that showed that more of them had fathers over 45 years of age than ones under 45 years of age. Also, it should be noted that he performed his tests and examinations upon middle-aged men in Iceland and from no other country. So many years ago, there was a segment of 60 Minutes in which their news crew traveled over to Iceland to see what this country was like, and, interestingly enough, they discovered that this country had an epidemic of alcoholism. As a matter of fact, they showed a public celebration where you could see very young kids drinking beer and other forms of alcohol. I would, therefore, have to question the accuracy of the aforementioned so-called research study in that naturally a 47-year-old Icelandic man who has been getting drunk every day since the age of 11 is going to produce sperms that are less healthy than, say, a 69-year-old Canadian man who has never even as so much drunk a beer in his entire life. I could find nothing in Dr. Stefánsson's supposed findings that specified how healthy these men were that he used in his so-called research study. I honestly don’t think that he cared one way or the other.
Another concern that comes to mind is the question of the professional integrity of both Dr. Stefánsson and his organization, deCODE Genetics. They have engaged in unethical practices that should cause everyone to question their scientific determinations. In 2004, they were sued for stock fraud. They went through a bankruptcy in 2009 as a result of mismanagement, and, at one point, deCODE Genetics was under investigation by different government agencies here in the United States of America for unethical activities. Do your own research if you are skeptical of what I am reporting to you, and you will find that this pseudo-intellectual and his organization both have heavily checkered pasts. Therefore, it is more than clear that this pseudo-intellectual and his organization cannot be trusted to provide the public at large with the truth. The public at large should not ignore these facts about this pseudo-intellectual and his organization, because I think that most of us would agree that where there is smoke, there is usually fire. A good analogy to this effect is that if a scandal were to break out in the news that a surgeon was involved in money laundering, then most sensible people would likely become apprehensive about allowing that surgeon to perform an appendectomy on them or on any member of their family. Why Dr. Stefánsson and deCODE Genetics have not been both banned from the United States of America altogether continues to be a mystery.
Back in the 1960s all the way up to the mid-1970s, the United States of America was sending young men, mostly under 35 years old and many as young as 18 years old, to fight in Vietnam. If any of you have the opportunity to visit the Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C., you’ll notice that there are miles and miles of graves of military men who died in Vietnam. The reason so is because many young men who were either drafted or enlisted to serve over in Vietnam came back to the United States of America either severely maimed or in body bags. Therefore, many women between 18 and 25 years of age were confronted with a shortage of eligible, young bachelors back in the 1960s up until the mid-1970s. As a result, the trend of young women dating and marrying significantly older men went into full speed during that time era. It is no mystery in that respect as to why many people from Generation X were fathered by men over 45 years of age. I know a lot of people from Generation X. However, I know barely anyone from Generation X who suffers from any of the birth defects that Dr. Stefánsson and deCODE Genetics named in their so-called research study regarding children born to older fathers. Also, I know of many celebrities who have fathered kids well into their forties and fifties and beyond, and those kids turned out to be even healthier than many kids who were fathered by men in their early twenties.
Despite what Dr. Stefánsson and his organization, deCODE Genetics, have determined about older fathers and their offspring, Japan doesn’t suffer any kind of epidemic that I know of, of men over 45 years of age fathering children who suffer from any of the aforementioned birth defects described in his so-called research study; and that country would definitely have many more men over 45 years of age fathering children than the United States of America does. The United Kingdom is known for its men putting off marriage and family until after 40 years of age or even after 50 years of age, and that country doesn’t have droves of people walking around on their streets with autism, schizophrenia, Down’s Syndrome, or any of the other birth defects described in that same so-called research study.
D. A Warning About Junk Science and Charlatans
Wake up and smell the coffee, America. Just because some self-proclaimed "expert" may have fancy diplomas hanging on his office walls doesn’t make him an ethical individual in the field of medical science. Look at Dr. Charles Alfred Kinsey and Dr. Sigmund Freud. These two geniuses were highly educated in the field of medical science, yet their respective moral compasses left so very much to be desired. Dr. Stefánsson’s research study regarding older fathers should not be trusted, and it deserves to be debunked and discredited by every member of the scientific community here in the United States of America as well as abroad. As I have surfed the Internet, I have read comments of young people from all over the world who are as young as their early teens expressing how worried they were that their fathers were over 45 years old when they were born and that someday some of the birth defects that Dr. Stefánsson described in his so-called research study would manifest in them in some way or another.
The United States of America is vulnerable to cultural bias in the field of medical science and medical technology, and opportunists like Dr. Stefánsson and his organization, deCODE Genetics, are well aware of this fact. We Americans are a society that has an inclination to put the male prima donna who did it all by the age of 21 up on a pedestal and refuse to find any fault in him while, at the same time, men who put off marriage and family always run the risk of being scrutinized by their peers and others. Sometimes that scrutiny appears in the form of what is now called “singlism,” which is discrimination against people on the basis of their single marital status. Such discrimination is often compounded when single people don’t have children. Many of you probably remember the television character named Danny Tanner that actor, Bob Saget, played on the comedy sitcom series Full House back in the 1980s and the early-to-mid 1990s. He was this glittering male prima donna who married his childhood sweetheart right out of high school and went on to be a college graduate, a successful newscaster, and a loving father all before the age of 23. The comedy sitcom series Still Standing that aired on television in later years promoted this same kind of sterile mindset of an age-appropriate and age-perfect Utopia. Television sitcoms like these are not reality, and they promote the cultural bias that I describe herein.
When I was reading over a discussion thread on Facebook concerning the so-called research study that Dr. Stefánsson and deCODE Genetics conducted regarding older fathers, I came across this one man in his twenties who used the information from that so-called research study to go on an ego trip in the comments that he posted. He bragged about how he had fathered his son when he was 19 years old and how his kid was healthier and smarter than another kid who was the same age as his son and whose father was in his forties. Shortly thereafter, after I stumbled across an online article from a scientific group similar to deCODE Genetics that was claiming that men under 20 years old were more likely to father babies with numerous birth defects than fathers over 20 years old, I nearly laughed my head off about this young father on Facebook. I wanted to shove that online article in his face and make him eat his own words. However, because I did not have a Facebook account, I was unable to post a reply to his comments. It is clear and obvious that Dr. Stefánsson and deCODE Genetics are troublemakers who have needlessly created a panic among the public at large and have started a war between the generations. Unfortunately, people here in the United States of America will buy everything that charlatans like Dr. Stefánsson and deCODE Genetics feed them, because, after all, the United States of America is the same nation where the Church of Scientology has continued to brainwash people into joining them and falling victim to their deceptive practices while the law continues to do virtually nothing about it. However, we Americans all need to wise up about stuff like this.
Male Millennials are also panicking all over the place and looking into having their sperms cryonically frozen so that they can father “healthy children” later on in life. This process is probably not cheap. Companies that perform this process are undoubtedly in the business to make money. It also brings to question whether Dr. Stefánsson and deCODE Genetics are purposely sending business these companies’ way in return for some kind of monetary compensation. I cannot avoid questioning how many such companies and special interest groups may have paid them to produce their faulty and most likely bogus data regarding older fathers in exchange for profits and the likes. As I have stated earlier, I do not like to speculate about anything. However, I can certainly envision many psychiatrists with dollar signs in their eyes in response to this so-called research study now that this charlatan and his organization have misled kids born to older fathers into believing that they could develop bipolar disorder or schizophrenia later on in life. I can’t call Dr. Stefánsson and deCODE Genetics’ so-called findings regarding older fathers anything more or anything less than junk science. In conclusion, I don’t think that the public at large should continue to allow itself to be taken in by such junk science, especially here in the United States of America. I would certainly recommend that anyone reading my article be leery of anyone in the scientific community who has as checkered of a past as Dr. Stefánsson and deCODE Genetics.
A Poll for the Offspring of Older Fathers
If your father was 45 years of age or older when he fathered you, do you have Down's Syndrome, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, a lower-than-normal IQ, autism, or any other other genetic disorder?
© 2016 Jason B Truth