Consuming Fish May Improve Long-Term Cognitive Functioning in Children

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Children who consume greater amounts of fish tend to have fewer sleep problems and higher IQ scores.
Children who consume greater amounts of fish tend to have fewer sleep problems and higher IQ scores.

HealthDay News — Greater fish consumption is associated with fewer sleep problems and higher IQ scores in children, with sleep quality partially mediating the relationship between fish consumption and verbal IQ, according to a study published online in Scientific Reports.

Noting that greater fish consumption is associated with improved cognition among children, Jianghong Liu, PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania Schools of Nursing and Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the role of improved sleep as a mediator of the fish-cognition relationship in a cohort of 541 Chinese schoolchildren. Fish consumption and sleep quality were assessed at ages 9 to 11 years, while IQ was examined at age 12.

The researchers found that frequent fish consumption was correlated with fewer sleep problems and higher IQ scores. A dose-response relationship was identified, with higher IQ scores in children who always or sometimes (4.8 and 3.31 points, respectively) consumed fish vs those who rarely ate fish. The relationship between fish consumption and verbal, but not performance, IQ was partially mediated by sleep quality. After adjustment for multiple sociodemographic covariates, the findings were robust.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to indicate that frequent fish consumption may help reduce sleep problems (better sleep quality), which may in turn benefit long-term cognitive functioning in children," the authors write.

Reference

Liu J, Cui Y, Li L, et al. The mediating role of sleep in the fish consumption- cognitive functioning relationship: a cohort study. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):17961.



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