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The link between the occurrence of autism in children and vaccines has been refuted many times. But the association is still claimed by some people.
One possible clue comes from a 2008 UC Davis study that found some mothers of children with autism had antibodies to fetal brain protein, while none of the mothers of typical children did. Advancing age has been associated with an increase in autoantibody production. The Antibodies damage the fetal brains in pregnancies of older moms.
The study may help answer questions surrounding why autism rates have risen in recent decades. Some had blamed vaccinations geared to fending off other, unrelated diseases, but studies have not supported that line of thinking. Meanwhile, more and more women are having babies later in life.
A 40-year-old woman's risk of having a child later diagnosed with autism was 50 percent greater than that of a woman between 25 and 29 years old, new research finds.
But the age of fathers did not factor in as significantly. Advanced paternal age is associated with elevated autism risk only when the father is older and the mother is under 30, the study found.