On Radio 4 this morning I heard that men over the age of 40 are six times more likely to have autistic children. The study was carried out by studying 100,000 births in Israel.
Here at Wizarre Borld, we regard it as our job to question the logic of apparently clear conclusions. For example, we think it more interesting to reverse the argument and state that if you have autism, your father is six times more likely to be aged over 40. So the question is not whether a man’s sperm degenerates with age, but what habits — dietary, lifestyle and even relationships — does a 40-year-old man have which makes autism more prevalent in his offspring?
And Lo! On page 10 of today’s Guardian — i.e. just an hour after I heard the news on the radio — I saw that another study had linked autism to bacteria in the gut. Glenn Gibson from the University of Reading studied the faeces of 50 autistic and 50 normal children. He found raised levels of the bacterium clostridium in the faeces of the autistic children. Gibson has now set up a study giving autistic children probiotic treatment.
The question here at Wizarre Borld is whether men over the age of 40 fathering children have dietary habits which cause raised levels of clostridium. The only population where this age-related correlation has been proven to occur is Israel. Could Matzos be to blame?