Children of older mothers ‘more likely to have heart complications’

Adult offspring of older mothers are more susceptible to heart risks in later life, according to new research published in The Journal of Physiology. These results could be crucial in developing preventative treatments for children born to older women, the study’s authors say.

The research suggests that intervention strategies should be tailored according to sex, as female offspring did not demonstrate the same susceptibility to heart problems or impaired blood vessels as male offspring.

To investigate the impact of the age a mother gives birth on the health of her offspring, older female rats, which were equivalent to a 35-year-old human, were mated with young males. At 4 months, their offspring’s blood vessel and heart function were tested. In future studies, the researchers will look into whether or not the findings are true in human subjects.

The study’s lead author, Sandra Davidge, said: ‘This research is important because it improves our understanding of the impact of giving birth at an older age on the health of offspring in later life. We are further analysing the mechanisms that might be contributing to these adverse effects on the offspring of older mothers, in particular focusing on the role of placental function.’