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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1069; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111069

Childhood Fish Consumption and Learning and Behavioral Disorders

1
Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
2
Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
3
Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 15 July 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
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Abstract

Fish is a major source of nutrients critical for brain development during early life. The importance of childhood fish consumption is supported by several studies reporting associations of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) supplementation with better behavior and school performance. However, fish may have a different effect than n-3 PUFA alone due to the neurotoxic effects of methylmercury, a frequent contaminant. We investigated associations of childhood fish consumption with learning and behavioral disorders in birth cohort study of the neurotoxic effects of early life exposure to solvent-contaminated drinking water. Childhood (age 7–12 years) fish consumption and learning and behavioral problems were reported in self-administered questionnaires (age 23–41 at questionnaire completion). Fish consumption was not meaningfully associated with repeating a grade, tutoring, attending summer school, special class placement, or low educational attainment. However, participants who ate fish several times a week had an elevated odds of Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (odds ratio: 5.2; 95% confidence interval: 1.5–18) compared to participants who did not eat fish. While these findings generally support the safety of the observed level of fish consumption, the absence of a beneficial effect may be attributed to insufficient fish intake or the choice of relatively low n-3 PUFA fish. View Full-Text
Keywords: ADD; ADHD; fish; learning disorders; methylmercury ADD; ADHD; fish; learning disorders; methylmercury
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carwile, J.L.; Butler, L.J.; Janulewicz, P.A.; Winter, M.R.; Aschengrau, A. Childhood Fish Consumption and Learning and Behavioral Disorders. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 1069.

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