Parenting Bulletin    
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  Newsletter |  Message Board/Forum |  About |  Links |  Subscribe to ParentingBulletin.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
Improvements in fuel cell designImprovements in fuel cell design

Rediscovering Venus to find faraway earths

Archaeologists discover bronze remains of Iron Age chariot

Researchers resolve the Karakoram glacier anomaly, a cold case of climate science

Fish tale: New study evaluates antibiotic content in farm-raised fishFish tale: New study evaluates antibiotic content in farm-raised fish

New 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiencyNew 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiency

Researchers break nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiberResearchers break nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiber

Magnetic mirrors enable new technologies by reflecting light in uncanny ways

Structure of an iron-transport protein revealedStructure of an iron-transport protein revealed

First step: From human cells to tissue-engineered esophagusFirst step: From human cells to tissue-engineered esophagus

Lift weights, improve your memory

Spiders: Survival of the fittest group

Autophagy helps fast track stem cell activationAutophagy helps fast track stem cell activation

Myelin vital for learning new practical skillsMyelin vital for learning new practical skills

More physical activity improved school performanceMore physical activity improved school performance

Around the world in 400,000 years: The journey of the red foxAround the world in 400,000 years: The journey of the red fox

Engineering new vehicle powertrainsEngineering new vehicle powertrains

Active aging is much more than exerciseActive aging is much more than exercise

Study: New device can slow, reverse heart failureStudy: New device can slow, reverse heart failure

Are the world's religions ready for ET?Are the world's religions ready for ET?

Gut bacteria, artificial sweeteners and glucose intoleranceGut bacteria, artificial sweeteners and glucose intolerance

Recreating the stripe patterns found in animals by engineering synthetic gene networksRecreating the stripe patterns found in animals by engineering synthetic gene networks

Laying the groundwork for data-driven scienceLaying the groundwork for data-driven science

Nature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologiesNature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologies

Missing piece found to help solve concussion puzzleMissing piece found to help solve concussion puzzle

Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'

Geography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economyGeography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economy

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Study: No link between mercury exposure and autism-like behaviors (8/3/2013)

<
Tags:
autism, children, communication, development, diet, environment, food, health, language, lead, mothers, nutrition, omega-3, parents, play, pregnancy, skills

The potential impact of exposure to low levels of mercury on the developing brain - specifically by women consuming fish during pregnancy - has long been the source of concern and some have argued that the chemical may be responsible for behavioral disorders such as autism. However, a new study that draws upon more than 30 years of research in the Republic of Seychelles reports that there is no association between pre-natal mercury exposure and autism-like behaviors.

"This study shows no evidence of a correlation between low level mercury exposure and autism spectrum-like behaviors among children whose mothers ate, on average, up to 12 meals of fish each week during pregnancy," said Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D., an associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center's (URMC) Department of Public Health Sciences and lead author of the study which appears online today in the journal Epidemiology. "These findings contribute to the growing body of literature that suggest that exposure to the chemical does not play an important role in the onset of these behaviors."

The debate over fish consumption has long created a dilemma for expecting mothers and physicians.Fish are high in beneficial nutrients such as, selenium, vitamin E, lean protein, and omega-3 fatty acids; the latter are essential to brain development. At the same time, exposure to high levels of mercury has been shown to lead to developmental problems, leading to the claim that mothers are exposing their unborn children to serious neurological impairment by eating fish during pregnancy. Despite the fact that the developmental consequences of low level exposure remain unknown, some organizations, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have recommended that pregnant women limit their consumption of fish.

The presence of mercury in the environment is widespread and originates from both natural sources such as volcanoes and as a byproduct of coal-fired plants that emit the chemical. Much of this mercury ends up being deposited in the world's oceans where it makes its way into the food chain and eventually into fish. While the levels of mercury found in individual fish are generally low, concerns have been raised about the cumulative effects of a frequent diet of fish.

The Republic of Seychelles has proven to be the ideal location to examine the potential health impact of persistent low level mercury exposure. With a population of 87,000 people spread across an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean, fishing is a both an important industry and a primary source of nutrition - the nation's residents consume fish at a rate 10 times greater than the populations of the U.S. and Europe.

The Seychelles Child Development Study - a partnership between URMC, the Seychelles Ministries of Health and Education, and the University of Ulster in Ireland - was created in the mid-1980s to specifically study the impact of fish consumption and mercury exposure on childhood development. The program is one of the largest ongoing epidemiologic studies of its kind.

"The Seychelles study was designed to follow a population over a very long period of time and focus on relevant mercury exposure," said Philip Davidson, Ph.D., principal investigator of the Seychelles Child Development Study and professor emeritus in Pediatrics at URMC."While the amount of fish consumed in the Seychelles is significantly higher than other countries in the industrialized world, it is still considered low level exposure."

The autism study involved 1,784 children, adolescents, and young adults and their mothers. The researchers were first able to determine the level of prenatal mercury exposure by analyzing hair samples that had been collected from the mothers around the time of birth, a test which can approximate mercury levels found in the rest of the body including the growing fetus.

The researchers then used two questionnaires to determine whether or not the study participants were exhibiting autism spectrum-like behaviors. The Social Communication Questionnaire was completed by the children's parents and the Social Responsiveness Scale was completed by their teachers. These tests - which include questions on language skills, social communication, and repetitive behaviors - do not provide a definitive diagnosis, but they are widely used in the U.S. as an initial screening tool and may suggest the need for additional evaluation.

The mercury levels of the mothers were then matched with the test scores of their children and the researchers found that there was no correlation between prenatal exposure and evidence of autism-spectrum-like behaviors. This is similar to the result of previous studies of the nation's children which have measured language skills and intelligence, amongst other outcomes, and have not observed any adverse developmental effects.

The study lends further evidence to an emerging belief that the "good" may outweigh the possible "bad" when it comes to fish consumption during pregnancy. Specifically, if mercury does adversely influence child development at these levels of exposure then the benefits of the nutrients found in the fish may counteract or perhaps even supersede the potential negative effects of the mercury.

"This study shows no consistent association in children with mothers with mercury level that were six to ten times higher than those found in the U.S. and Europe," said Davidson. "This is a sentinel population and if it does not exist here than it probably does not exist."

"NIEHS has been a major supporter of research looking into the human health risks associated with mercury exposure," said Cindy Lawler, Ph.D., acting branch chief at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of National Institutes of Health. "The studies conducted in the Seychelles Islands have provided a unique opportunity to better understand the relationship between environmental factors, such as mercury, and the role they may play in the development of diseases like autism. Although more research is needed, this study does present some good news for parents."

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the University of Rochester Medical Center

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Certain parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthoodCertain parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthood

Even expectant dads experience prenatal hormone changes

A 2-minute delay in cutting the umbilical cord leads to a better development of newborns

Study finds low weight gain in pregnant women reduces male fetal survivalStudy finds low weight gain in pregnant women reduces male fetal survival

Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ

Are you helping your toddler's aggressive behavior?

Punishing kids for lying just doesn't work

Higher birth weight indicates better performance in school

Are the benefits of breast milk stimulant worth the risk?

Many chest X-rays in children are unnecessaryMany chest X-rays in children are unnecessary

Why does physical activity during childhood matter?

Heavier newborns show academic edge in school

Why don't children belong to the clean plate club?Why don't children belong to the clean plate club?

New study examines the effect of timing of folic acid supplementation during pregnancy

Full-day preschool linked with increased school readiness compared with part-day



Archives
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010




Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Fossil News
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Nanotech News
Microbiology Research
Physics News
  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2019 ParentingBulletin.com. All rights reserved.