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Given the debate about Thimerosol, I thought this report, published  
in that disreputable capitalist rag, the NY Times, and undoubtedly  
based on a study financed by Big Phish, lends an ironic note.

Best,
Michael


February 27, 2007 New York Times
VITAL SIGNS
Nutrition: Study Questions Limits on Fish in Pregnancy

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
The Food and Drug Administration advises pregnant women to avoid  
eating certain fish entirely, because they may contain unsafe levels  
of methylmercury, and to limit seafood to 12 ounces, or about two  
servings, a week. But a British report, published in The Lancet on  
Feb. 17, suggests that this may not be the best advice.

In an observational study of more than 8,000 pregnant women and their  
children, the researchers found that the children whose mothers ate  
less than 12 ounces of seafood a week were about 45 percent more  
likely to fall into the lowest 25 percent in I.Q.

The researchers had the mothers fill out questionnaires about their  
diet during pregnancy and then report periodically on their children  
through age 8. After controlling for more than two dozen diet and  
other variables, the researchers found that greater maternal intake  
of omega-3 fatty acids in fish was associated with better fine motor  
development, more prosocial behavior and better social development.

They found no evidence that a mother’s consumption of more than 12  
ounces of seafood a week had any adverse effect on a child’s  
development.

“The risks of methylmercury in seafood, many scientists think, have  
been radically overestimated in an effort to protect children,” said  
Dr. Joseph R. Hibbeln, the lead author of the study. “The problem  
with the formulation of the advisory is that there was no calculation  
of the benefits of seafood.”

Dr. Hibbeln, a researcher at the United States Public Health Service,  
declined to provide diet recommendations. “We are not offering  
advice,” he said, “just doing a scientific study to provide  
information to the other agencies that formulate advice.”