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Researchers recommend haddock and salmon consumption rather than tuna, since it contains more mercury. (Photo: www.mercurypolicy.org)

Non-mercury fish consumption linked to reduced ADHD risk

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Thursday, October 11, 2012, 02:50 (GMT + 9)

A team of researchers from the School of Public Health of Boston University states that non-mercury fish consumption can help reduce a child's risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The scientists found that those children whose mothers ate fish high in mercury during pregnancy could suffer the disorder while those children whose mothers ate more non-mercury fish have a lower risk.

The study was published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

During the investigation, a link was found between eating at least two servings of fish a week with a 60 per cent lower risk of developing this disorder in children, the agency Europa Press reported.

However, the researchers found that those women with higher levels of mercury experience a higher risk of developing the symptoms, such as hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention.

While the research does not prove that there is a cause and effect relation, it is likely to offer data on a disease affecting approximately one in ten children in the US.

According to Sharon Sagiv, lead author of the study, "the really important message is to eat fish."

The American University scientists recommend eating haddock and salmon, and avoid tuna and swordfish, which usually contain more mercury.

For this new study, the researchers followed up 788 children who had been born near New Bedford, Massachusetts, between 1993 and 1998.

They used hair samples taken from the mothers immediately after birth to determine their mercury levels, and food records to track the amount of fish they consumed.

As soon as the children were eight years old, the researchers asked their teachers to assess their behaviour to see how many of them had ADHD- related symptoms.

With all the gathered information, the scientists observed that those women whose children were more active had one microgram of mercury per gram of hair, about eight times more than the average levels found in other women.

Furthermore, they noted that there was no relation in the cases showing less than a microgram of mercury per gram of maternal hair.

Sagiv argues that the observed results indicate that the negative effects of lower levels of mercury can be overridden by the benefits of eating fish.

By Analia Murias


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