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Sunday 24th June 2018

Fish boosts foetal brains

16th February 2007

The children of women who ate lots of fish during pregnancy have better communication skills at aged seven, says a new study.

It has long been known that eating small amounts of fish in pregnancy benefits the growing baby but this new report suggests that the advantages continue throughout childhood.  Previous research revealed that the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish boost a child’s brain power and social skills up to the age of four.  Researchers have now found evidence to suggest benefits to children as old as eight.

The study by scientists from Bristol University and the US National Institutes of Health found that the children of mothers who had eaten lots of fish during pregnancy had better communication and social skills.  11,875 pregnant women were questioned in the study which found that low fish and seafood intake during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of poorer behaviour, motor, communication and social development scores.

The Food Standards Agency advises against women eating vast quantities of fish in pregnancy due to the risks to the developing foetus associated with certain toxins found in some seafood and fish.  However, Professor Robert Grimble, professor of nutrition at the University of Southampton said omega-3 fatty acids were very important for brain development. He said, "This idea of fish being toxic has been around for a long time but this study seems to be saying that is a minor problem compared with the benefits you get from fish." 


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