The SCDS, comprising longitudinal observational mother-child cohorts, was established in the mid-1980s with the main aim to study the effects of prenatal exposure to methylmercury on child development within the Republic of Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago where fish consumption is high. All studies received approval from the Seychelles Ethics Board and the Research Subjects Review Board at the University of Rochester, USA The Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health (USA) and previously has been awarded multiple grants from NIH (USA) and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning and one from the EU.
The Republic of Seychelles provides the ideal environment to investigate the effects of fish consumption on child development owing to the high fish consumption within the population, with the mothers enrolled typically consuming on average more than eight fish meals per week. The Republic of Seychelles has free healthcare and education and no local sources of pollution, which might influence child development.
Findings emanating from the study support the potential importance to child development of the nutrients present within fish including n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) and indicate that the beneficial effects of LCPUFA and other components of fish outweigh any adverse effects of maternal MeHg exposure previously reported in other longitudinal studies.
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