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BACKGROUND: Genetic and environmental factors have important roles in multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility. A clear parent-of-origin effect has been shown in several populations. Advanced maternal age has been shown to be associated with adverse outcomes in offspring including chromosomal abnormalities. Advanced paternal age is associated with a number of adult onset disorders including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In a population-based Canadian cohort, we investigated whether there is any difference in parental age at birth for MS index cases compared to spouse controls. METHODS: Using the longitudinal Canadian database, we identified 5,681 MS index cases and 1,249 spouse controls with complete information on parental dates of birth, thereby allowing a calculation of the maternal and paternal ages at the birth of their children (MS index cases and spouse controls). RESULTS: No significant difference in maternal or paternal age at birth was found (average MS index case maternal age at birth = 27.3 years, average spouse control maternal age at birth = 27.0 years, p = 0.13; average MS index case paternal age at birth = 30.7 years, average spouse control paternal age at birth = 30.2 years, p = 0.37). CONCLUSIONS: Parental age at birth is not associated with susceptibility to MS.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





106 - 109


Adult, Age Factors, Canada, Case-Control Studies, Cohort Studies, Fathers, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Mothers, Multiple Sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting, Parents, Regression Analysis, Spouses, Young Adult