No Link Found Between Autism and Maternal Fish Ingested During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Fish” by Dhruvaraj S is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Caroline M Taylor
Wellcome Trust Research Fellow
Centre for Child and Adolescent Health
Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol
Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Mercury is a toxic metal that is widespread in the environment. In pregnancy, mercury in the mother’ bloodstream is transferred through the placenta to the fetus, where is can affect development of the nervous system. Mercury from vaccines has been the focus of attention particularly in regard to a link with autism in children. However, the amount of mercury used in the vaccines is small in comparison with mercury from the diet and atmospheric pollution, and in the EU at least, childhood vaccines no longer contain this preservative. The fear that mercury is linked to autism has persisted, despite increasing evidence that this is not the case.

The aim of our study was to look at mercury from the diet rather than vaccines – specifically from fish – in pregnant women. We measured the women’s mercury levels in their blood and asked them about how much fish they ate. We then followed up their children for 9 years and recorded how many of them had autism diagnosed within that time. We also measured how many of them had autist traits by measuring their social and communication difficulties.  The data were part of the Children of the 90s study (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children – ALSPAC), which is based in Bristol, UK.

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High Fish Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Fang Li

Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, The Medical College of Qingdao University, Qingdao, Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Fish, rich in multiple beneficial nutrients, including  n-3 polyunsaturated fattyacids, high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals, have been hypothesized to protect against chronic diseases generally , such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Depression is a common mental health disorder,with an estimated 350 million people affected. We hypothesis that fish consumption may be benefical in depression prevention. Several epidemiological studies have investigated associations between fish intake and depression risk, but the findings are inconsistent. Therefore we conducted a meta-analysis to expect to find this association.

A total of 26 studies involving 150 278 participants were included in the present meta-analysis.The pooled relative risk of depression for the highest versus lowest consumption of fish was 0.83 (95% CI 0.74 to 0.93). The findings remained significant in the cohort studies.This meta-analysis indicates that high-fish consumption can reduce the risk of depression.

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Eating Fish May Reduce Risk Of Hearing Loss In Women

Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM
Channing Division of Network Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Curhan: We followed more than 65,000 women who were participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II over 18 years and found that eating 2 or more servings of fish per week was associated with a lower risk of hearing loss. For example, after adjusting for potential confounders in multivariable analyses, in comparison with women who rarely or never ate fish, women who consumed 2 or more servings of fish per week had a 20% lower risk of hearing loss. Eating any type of fish (tuna, dark fish, light fish or shellfish) tended to be associated with lower risk. Also, we found that higher intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was inversely associated with risk. For example, in comparison with women with the lowest intake, women with the highest intake of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs had a 22% lower risk of hearing loss.

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Mercury Contamination In Chilean Sea Bass Complicated By Seafood Substitution

Prof. Peter B. Marko Department of Biology University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Honolulu, HawaiiMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Peter B. Marko
Department of Biology
University of Hawaii at Mānoa,
Honolulu, Hawaii


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study

Prof. Marko: The main finding of the study was that species substitutions and fishery stock substitutions together obscure a complex pattern of mercury contamination in Chilean sea bass (or Patagonian toothfish) that can put consumers unknowingly at risk of ingesting greater levels of mercury than the labeling would suggest.  Although it is well appreciated that mercury levels vary dramatically among different species of fish, and that species substitutions have the potential to expose consumers to unwanted mercury, our study shows that for Chilean sea bass, fish mislabeled as to their country or region of origin (but labeled as the correct species) have a high potential to expose consumers to unexpectedly high levels of mercury.
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Fish Consumption Linked to Brain Health

James T. Becker, Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and NeurologyMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
James T. Becker, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neurology
University of Pittsburgh

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Becker: We found that people who eat baked or broiled (but not fried) fish at least once every week had significantly larger brain volumes in areas critical for memory and cognition, namely, hippocampus, precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex, and orbital frontal cortex.
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Risk of Diabetes and Fish Intake

Jyrki Virtanen, PhD Adjunct Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology University of Eastern Finland Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition Kuopio, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jyrki Virtanen, PhD
Adjunct Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology
University of Eastern Finland
Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition
Kuopio, Finland

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Virtanen: The main finding was that serum long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) concentration, an objective biomarker of fish and long-chain omega-3 PUFA intake, was associated with a lower risk of incident type 2 diabetes during the average follow-up of 19.3 years in middle-aged and older men from Eastern Finland. The risk was 33% lower in the highest vs. the lowest quartile after adjustment for potential confounders. In contrast, hair mercury, a marker for long-term exposure to mercury, was not associated with the risk. Previously in this study population, high hair mercury content has been associated with higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and attenuation of the beneficial impact of long-chain omega-3 PUFA on the risk. Also, we did not find associations with the intermediate-chain length omega-3 PUFA alpha-linolenic acid, either, which is a plant-based omega-3 PUFA. This suggests that the findings were specific to the long-chain omega-3 PUFAs from fish.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis: Omega Fatty Acids from Fish Lowered Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniela Di Giuseppe
Division of Nutritional Epidemiology
Institute of Environmental Medicine
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm 171 77, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: Women whose long-term intake of omega 3 PUFAs exceeded 0.21 g a day, equivalent to at least one serving of fatty fish or four servings of lean fish a week, had half the risk (52% lower) of rheumatoid arthritis of women who consumed less.
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