Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Benefits of eating seafood outweigh risks

27.02.2006


Though some species of fish around the world’s are likely to be contaminated with mercury, PCBs and other toxins, the benefits of eating seafood continue to outweigh the risks, a panel of scientists recently said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.



"The best science coming out over the last two years has overwhelmingly been in favor of the benefits of seafood consumption," said Michael T. Morrissey, director of Oregon State University’s Seafood Laboratory in Astoria, Ore., and moderator of the panel.

Phillip Spiller, director of the Office of Seafood for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said that the FDA is going through a risk/benefit analysis to establish effective guidelines for fish consumption. Historically, he said, the agency has looked almost exclusively at safety issues without taking benefits into consideration.


"We must formulate a clear message for the consumer," he said.

And that is where things get complicated, pointed out Morrissey, who also is a professor in OSU’s Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station. More research is necessary to determine exactly what the risks and benefits of eating seafood may be.

During the AAAS panel, for example, Phil Davidson from the University of Rochester Medical School, presented results of a unique 10-year study of more than 700 children living in the Seychelles Islands. The children’s mothers averaged 12 meals of fish a week – about 10 times the average fish consumption of individuals in the United States – and those fish contained high levels of methylmercury.

Yet cognitive tests on the children, taken multiple times over the years, found no cognitive defects or other maladies normally attributed to mercury absorption.

"Those results are fascinating," Morrissey said in an interview after the panel discussion. "Is there something beneficial in consuming the fish that negates any adverse effects of the mercury? The science isn’t quite there yet. But it underscores the importance of looking at the issues holistically instead of formulating conclusions based on scattered evidence."

There are some seafood products where caution is warranted, Morrissey pointed out. Guidelines set by the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency for young children and pregnant women should be followed, he advised.

"If you’re in that group, avoid eating shark, swordfish, tilefish and Spanish mackerel," Morrissey said. "But young children and pregnant women should still eat 12 ounces a week of a variety of fish to be sure to get the important nutrients – especially omega-3 fatty acids.

"For the rest of us," he added, "I would recommend eating fish 4-7 times a week. The evidence still suggests that seafood plays a role in reducing coronary heart disease – and new studies suggest that it may reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s as well as other mental illnesses."

Those guidelines were echoed by Michael Crawford of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition at the Metropolitan University in London.

"There is more and more evidence showing the role of seafood consumption in brain evolution, development and mental health," he said.

Among the important nutrients for pregnant women and new mothers is a specific fatty acid found only in fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, panelist Susan Carlson told the AAAS. Carlson, from the University of Kansas Medical Center, said DHA has been linked with visual and cognitive acuity in fetuses and newborn infants who have been breast-fed.

And women in the United States typically consume less DHA than most other groups around the world, she added.

Carlson and Steve Otwell, from the University of Florida, both spoke as panelists at the AAAS forum and are part of a panel commissioned by the National Academy of Science that will deliver a report on seafood consumption later this spring.

Otwell warned the AAAS gathering that as seafood consumption continues to rise, the demand may overcome the supply. On a world scale, he said, there may be a shortfall of up to 10 million metric tons by 2010. And despite rapid growth, aquaculture has yet to fill the gap.

Despite the demand, many groups – particularly in the United States – still shy away from consuming seafood, the panelists pointed out.

Joyce Nettleton, a private consultant and science writer, said that Americans are particularly "risk-averse" when it comes to food scares.

"What people hear about the hypothetical risk of eating fish laced with contaminants bears little relation to the scientific evidence," she said.

Michael Morrissey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.oregonstate.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

nachricht Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>