Study: Eating fish has no link to autism
A major study examining the fish-eating habits of pregnant women has found that they are not linked to autism or autistic traits in their children.
Scientists at the University of Bristol looked at the assumption that mercury exposure during pregnancy is a major cause of autism using evidence from nearly 4500 women who took part in the Children of the 90s study.
Using analysis of blood samples, reported fish consumption and information on autism and autistic traits from one of the largest longitudinal studies to date, researchers found no links between levels of mercury in the mothers and autism or autistic traits in their children. The only adverse effect of mercury found was poor social cognition if mothers ate no fish at all, especially for girls.
"Our findings further endorse the safety of eating fish during pregnancy. Importantly we've found no evidence at all to support claims that mercury is involved in the development of autism or autistic traits,” said lead author and founder of the Children of the 90s study Professor Jean Golding.
"This adds to a body of work that endorses the eating of fish during pregnancy for a good nutritional start to life with at least two fish meals a week."