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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

Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
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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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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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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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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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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