16th January 2013: Nutrients in fish can boost brain development

The study, led by the University of Ulster, was carried out in collaboration with the University of Rochester in New York and the Seychells Ministry of Health.  Current medical advice in most countries suggests that eating fish during pregnancy should be limited, especially predatory species such as shark, swordfish and ray, which accumulate methylmercury.  However, in the Seychelles, fish predominates in the diet and pregnant women eat over 500g of fish per week. In spite of the danger of increased injestion of methylmercury, the researchers found that in children age five, language development improved with increasing maternal serum DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) content (collected at 28 weeks gestation and at delivery).  There were no adverse associations between methylmercury and developmenal outcomes.

Professor Sean Strain from the University of Ulster said 'we found that there were positive associations between omega-3 fatty acids, which are high in fish, and child language scores.  In other words, higher omega-3 concentrations in the mother during pregnancy results in better language scores in the cildren at age five years'

For the full article on Scientist Live, please click here.

For the abstract of the paper, please click here.

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