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Seafood is essential for brain development

Thursday, April 3th, 2014

Seafood is essential for brain development

Seafood intake during pregnancy and postnatal periods are beneficial to a wide range of neurodevelopment outcomes, with some potential risk at higher levels. Researchers of CREAL, Claudia Avella and Jordi Julvez, an ISGlobal research centre, identified 16 studies, most of them prospective cohort studies with prenatal and postnatal seafood intake exposure assessed through food frequency questionnaires. Neurological outcomes were evaluated in different stages of development, from newborns to teenagers.

Most studies found positive associations with neurodevelopment outcomes, without particularly stronger associations for specific developmental areas (general, cognitive, and behavioral). Even so they see some potential risk at higher levels of consumption of over 3 or 4 servings of seafood per week. This could due to contamination by mercury or PCBs, although this is still not clear.

In conclusion, seafood intake during pregnancy and postnatal periods seems to be beneficial to a wide range of neurodevelopment outcomes, when not consumed at higher levels. Although studies adjusted for a variety of sociodemographic factors, residual confounding is possible.

Now the researchers add “larger prospective studies are required to define which seafood species are more important for neurodevelopment while minimizing the potential neurotoxic effect of the related pollutants”.

Reference: Avella-Garcia CB, Julvez J. Seafood intake and neurodevelopment: a systemic review. Curr Envir Health Rpt 2014: (en Premsa).


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