Mercury Exposure and Risk of Heart Diseases: Nothing Fishy About It!

by Dr. Sania Siddiqui on  April 11, 2011 at 4:47 PM Health Watch   - G J E 4
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health published a study that exposure to mercury does not increase the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases.
Mercury Exposure and Risk of Heart Diseases: Nothing Fishy About It!
Mercury Exposure and Risk of Heart Diseases: Nothing Fishy About It!

Health advisories always warn women who are or may want to become pregnant against consumption of fish with high quantities of mercury content. A recent study indicates that it is unlikely to have significant cardiovascular risks for the general people.

Lead author of the study Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health said, "Men and the women (who aren't planning to become pregnant) can take the concern for mercury level off the table while choosing a fish".

The researchers analyzed data from two U.S. cohorts, which included a total of 51,529 men and 121,700 women. The mercury concentrations in the subject's stored toenail clippings were measured by the scientists. Then, the study identified 3,427 participants who had been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, which were cross-matched with 3,427 controls that had no history of cardiovascular disease. With the use of neutron-activation analysis, toenail mercury and selenium concentrations were assessed. Other demographic characteristics, fish consumption, cardiovascular risk factors, and lifestyle habits were assessed by the help of validated questionnaires. The results depicted that participants with high mercury exposure did not have a higher risk of heart disease.

"The study provided the most relevant correlation between mercury levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease", Mozaffarian added.

Although, Eric B. Rimm, the study's senior author and Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the School of Public Health warned that "sensitive" populations, such as pregnant women or who are trying to get pregnant and young children should be cautious about an over consumption of mercury.

Dr. Mozaffarian said that researchers now plan to study whether high mercury levels have other potential adverse side effects, such as risk of diabetes or hypertension.

"The study brings good news for people who love to eat fish" said Mozzaffarian.


Source: Medindia

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