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Sleep May Mediate Fish-Cognition Relationship in Children

Last Updated: December 28, 2017.

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 Dec. 21 in Scientific Reports.

THURSDAY, Dec. 28, 2017 (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 Dec. 21 in Scientific Reports.

Noting that greater fish consumption is associated with improved cognition among children, Jianghong Liu, Ph.D., 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 versus 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.

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