A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology says offsprings from pregnant women who ate tuna fish with links to methyl mercury showed better cognitive development and no sign of autistic disorder. Although the World Health Organisation says mercury – a chemical element found in air, water and soil – is dangerous to public health, the new study shows some benefits in eating some of fish types linked to the chemical element. The easiest human exposure to mercury is methyl mercury, a compound contacted through eating of fish and shellfish – and believed to affect child’s development. This is the motif some Public health authorities had, at different times, advised pregnant women to reduce fish consumption, particularly those with methyl mercury.
But, the new study, funded by the Spanish government, says otherwise. Most of 2,000 pregnant mothers examined through food questionnaires, according to fish types eaten, said they took three-to-four servings of tuna fish per week during pregnancy.
The researchers, during birth, assessed the women’s umbilical cords for levels of mercury – contaminant linked to neurotoxic effects, and DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid. After birth, the mothers’ babies, at 14 months and five years old, were equally tested on scales on cognitive development and on autistic spectrum disorder. The researchers claimed their results showed some tuna fish pregnant women are discouraged from eating actually produce more protective effects on cognitive development and prevention of autism symptoms.The study says pregnant mothers eating more servings of seafood a week increases cognitive abilities and decreases autistic symptoms in their children. The scores for eating 600 grams of total fish per week—about three to four servings— is a 2.8 point increase in IQ score, the study claims.
says study co-author Jordi Julvez, research fellow at the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona. The benefits tapered off when fish consumption was higher than 600 grams.
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