Is parental age a risk factor of mental retardation among their children?

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Mental retardation is a condition of incomplete development of the mind, which is specially characterized by impairment of skills manifested during the development period, contributing to decrease the overall level of intelligence ICD-10.


The study is an unmatched case–control study; the cases and controls were diagnosed according to the ICD-10 criteria, and the cases of mental retardation were subjected to psychometric assessment by using the Stanford Binet, version 4 or Vinland Maturity Scale. The controls were those with psychiatric disorders but were not mentally retarded.


The highest percentage of mental retardation was the borderline type and the lowest was the severe type (30.2 and 2.7%, respectively). There was a significant odds ratio for the mothers of age group 30–34 years in the Vinland Maturity Scale group cases. In addition, there was a significant odds ratio for the fathers of age group above 50 years old, who were nine times more liable to have mentally retarded children.


There is a need for further studies of the risk factors for mental retardation among children, as our study results for this subgroup may be unique to a particular geographic area.

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