A recent study debunked the common myth of pregnant women bearing autistic offspring due to their fish-eating habits. Researchers comment, eating fish can never be linked to autism nor does the consumption give rise to any autistic traits.
Scientists based out of the University of Bristol took a note of common assumption among individuals that being exposed to high levels of mercury during the early stage of pregnancy gives rise to autism. To get deeper insights, nearly 4500 women were involved in the study.
The research team embarked on one of the largest longitudinal studies and analyzed blood samples and accurately made a note of fish consumption and information on autism spectrum disorder.
Prof. Jen Golding comments, “These tireless findings help us understand and endorse the safety of eating fish during any stage of pregnancy. We haven’t found any evidence that supports claims of mercury involvements in one developing autism or related traits.”
This study adds to the body of work that neatly endorses fish eating as an important nutritional factor during pregnancy.
During the early start October 2017, researchers at the University of Bristol presented policy documents in an attempt to brief the governmental departments and explained the advice being circulated among women is confusing as well as complex and might encourage one to abstain from their regular eating habits.
Dr. Caroline Taylor, research fellow based out of the University of Bristol responsible in contributing to the research and drafting of policy document comments, “Fishes do contain traces of mercury that are understood to harm brain development. However, the health benefits of fish from important nutrients such as Omega-3, Vitamin D, Iodine, and selenium outweigh any risks that are highlighted due to mercury.”
Caroline further explains, “The advice one gets during pregnancy, particularly of their eating habits, is often overwhelming and complicated.”
There are now bodies of evidence to back the health benefits of fish with a clearer and simpler approach that helps one debunk common myths. Caroline says, “I believe, one of the immediate steps is to embark on another comprehensive study to understand how the present-day guidelines affect fish consumption among expectant mothers.
Carol Povey, Director of the NAS says, “Back here, we welcome researchers and their respective research studies that help every one of us better understand autism. I believe this is one of the robust studies of late that confirms what earlier researchers have found. Yes, it is a widely spread myth about higher mercury levels being a cause of autism.”
In the UK alone, there are more than 700,000 people diagnosed with autism condition. However, the exact causes behind the condition still remain relatively unknown despite tireless amounts of studies being carried out to understand the complexity of the condition and other important factors including genetics and other critical elements of the brain,
Povey concludes, “While it is highly important to understand the actual causes of the condition, more resneedsh need to be continued in parallel to understand what helps people with autism condition and their families to better the quality of their lives.”