Not being able to control for this division into genetic and sociocultural sub-communities seriously undermines the claim that 31% of congenital anomalies in the UK Pakistani population are solely due to marriage between first cousins. Researchers need to control for a very wide range of variables. First, it provides financial security by assuring that property or monetary assets stay within a family. Thousands more children of consanguineous marriages survive, but with appalling physical or mental problems. If the one fails to work due to any defect, the other can generally do the job. However, first cousin marriage is far more common, and far less dangerous, than many of us have been led to believe, as you'll soon see. Today marrying your first cousin is illegal in 24 US states. Copy link. While the researchers made a very creditable attempt to meet this requirement by controlling for nine major variables (including maternal age and education, a measure of social deprivation, smoking and alcohol consumption prior to and during pregnancy, obesity and diabetes), there are other considerations not accounted for that would influence their results. After all, the Rothschilds (richest banking family in human history) are known for inter-marriages between cousins and they are still very rich today. Cousin marriage is definitely not a religious thing. The Born in Bradford study, tracking 10,000 children from birth through their first two decades of life aims to rectify this. If due allowance is not made for each of these factors, health risks ascribed solely to marriage among first cousins will inevitably be exaggerated. This possibility needs to be kept firmly in mind as transnational marriages between UK-born and Pakistani partners are still favoured by many families in the UK Pakistani community, including those who would have been counted in the study. More than half of British Pakistanis marry their first cousins. In most of cases, the reasons are in the genes we inherit from our parents. Ruba and her first child, ... She says it was Inara's death that made her accept a link between her children's misfortunes and cousin marriage. In the Bradford Pakistani community, marriage between close family members is widely believed to offer significant benefits to the couple, who often have known each other from childhood, and to strengthen family ties. First cousin marriages in Pakistani communities leading to 'appalling' disabilities among children. But for most of Western history, people had to marry whoever lived nearby, which oftentimes meant marrying within the extended family. 2013 Jul 5;347:f4374. Consanguineous marriage: Can marriage between cousins cause birth defects? Consanguineous marriage: Can marriage between cousins cause birth defects? The Bradford study was unusual in that a large number of the children were born into Pakistani families, which traditionally encourage marriage between cousins. Data on cousin marriage in the United States is sparse. Marriage to a blood relative accounted for nearly a third (31%) of all birth defects in babies of Pakistani origin. The Muslim Times’ Chief Editor’s comment: Please see my views in the comment section below to find solutions to the problems posed by cousin marriages. Attitudes toward marriage between blood relations vary considerably across all cultures, but whatever the traditions and ethnicity, there is a serious health concern regarding consanguinity, a relationship between blood relatives. When parents are first cousins or close blood relatives, there is a higher risk of disease and congenital defects, stillbirths, infant mortality and a shorter life expectancy. Voir les partenaires de The Conversation France. The Bradford study is very comprehensive and includes information on a wide range of birth anomalies, such as heart and central nervous system disorders, oral and facial clefts, musculoskeletal disorders and urogenital defects. Chinthapalli K. PMID: Adjunct Professor and Research Leader , Murdoch University. The claims infuriated the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) which called on the prime minister to "sack him". The risk of having a baby with birth defects – usually heart or nervous system problems which can sometimes be fatal – is still small, but it rises from 3% in the general Pakistani population to 6% among those married to blood relatives. 1. The risk that the mother and the father both have the same genetic defect and that it will result in disease is usually very low, but it increases when parents are close blood relatives. Fewer than 1 percent of Western marriages fall into this category of what is known as "consanguineous marriage." In many of these cases, the health of the child is little affected. Both the mother and the father can have one or more genes that can lead to a disease without being ill themselves, and without any of their offspring being ill. For the children to get the disease, they have to inherit a defect in the similar gene from both parents. I learned that if you if you marry a first cousin, the risk of a child developing a birth defect goes from 2% to 5%. However, while marriage between first cousins doubles the risk of children being born with birth defects, the rate is still fairly low. But there was a distinct ethnic imbalance in this aspect of the research, … But the situation gets hairy if several generations follow do the same. For example, ventricular septal defects (a fault in the wall dividing the two vertical parts of the heart) were the single most common form of anomaly, affecting 54 of the 740 children diagnosed with an abnormality. It is unknown what proportion of that number were first cousins, which is the group facing marriage bans. Just because some states will allow it does not mean the chance for birth defects is any less in those states. Though, research indicates that the risk of having a child with birth defects and certain hereditary diseases increases if parents are close relatives. First cousin marriage doubles risk of birth defects in children July 4, 2013 2.10am EDT Jo Adetunji , The Conversation , Alan Bittles , Eamonn Sheridan , Neil Small The study found that offspring from cousin’s marriage face three times increase in the possibility of taking antidepressants and two times increase in taking anti psychotics. Experts say that marriage within the family increases risks of certain life-threatening diseases. Instead, most headlines said marriage between first cousins doubles the risk of birth defects, creating a false impression of the genetic impacts made by such unions. As Dyer writes, British researchers formally crunched the numbers and determined that for any given individual, with much variation, a marriage between first cousins roughly doubles the rate of unmasking compared to nonrelative marriages (~6% instead of ~3%). But problems with the data collection in the Bradford study mean that the results may be misleading. They found a surprisingly small increase (about 4 percent) in birth defects among the children of married cousins. Research about the impact of marriage between first cousins on rates of birth defects garnered much media attention when it was published late last week. Cousins who marry run double the risk of birth defects in their children, says the largest study of its kind in the Asian community, which was carried out by the University of Bradford. This switch in cousin-marriage's acceptance began in earnest in some parts of t… In this situation risk is the same for each pregnancy. In this regard, the risk of birth defects in the offspring of first-cousin marriage is expected to increase sharply compared to non-consanguineous marriages particularly for rare autosomal recessive disease genes, because for common recessive conditions, there is a high chance that the abnormal gene may be carried by … But it’s harder to quantify and enumerate the risk for psychiatric illnesses because that problems typically arise from interactions among genes and environmental factors. 1901), L’expertise universitaire, l’exigence journalistique. image caption The … A very recent study shows that children of cousin-parents are at higher risk for common mood disorders and other psychiatric issues. If the genetic defect that caused of any disease in the family is known, a gene test can determine whether or not an individual carries the defective gene.