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October 01, 2003
Raise your reading age with fish

I read about it in the paper version of last Sunday's Sunday Times, which I still had lying around:

A study of primary school children found that supplements of fish and plant oils could push them from the bottom of class to the top in just two terms.

The study, which covered a dozen primary schools concludes that giving youngsters such "brain food" supplements causes dramatic improvements in reading age and numeracy.

Here's the link to the whole of that story, but Times links are liable to go dead in foreign parts, so I'm told. So then I googled "Fish" "Oils "Reading age" and I got to this, from something called Junior Magazine, last month:

It was a huge surprise to learn that our five-year-old son was not progressing well at school. Both his father and I had done well academically and assumed that our offspring would similarly breeze through their letters and numbers. However, a Year One test had indicated that Benedict's performance was "dipping" and he has been taken under the wings of the special needs teacher. We now have to take him through an eight-week extra tuition programme. But there may be a simpler, much easier solution. Fish.

According to a new piece of research which is being proclaimed by its author as a "landmark study", thousands of children up and down the country are failing to do their best at school because they are deficient in essential fatty acids, a nutrient found in the flesh of oil-rich fish such as mackerel, salmon, kippers, herring, trout and sardines. Essential fatty acids are, well, essential for the brain's development and functioning.

This story is at the website of Equazen Neutrachemicals, so they make a feature of this quote from the story:

Parents want the best for their children, and Equazen Nutraceuticals, the company which makes the supplement used in this study, already reports that sales have taken a pleasing upturn.

I'll bet they have.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 03:38 AM
Category: How the human mind works

Interesting. The essential fatty acid family contains prostaglandin precursor acids that have been used in blood thinning for some years. But brain food? If true, the effect will be purely corrective in terms of existing potentiality, not of course generative in terms of intelligence. But one wonders how the last thousand years or so has produced any sentient intellectuality at all in mainland Britain beyond coastal areas, well served as they are with mackerel and herring. And what about land-locked Austria (all those clever, freedom-loving economists)?

Comment by: Guessedworker on October 1, 2003 10:01 AM

So Jeeves was right all those years ago...

Comment by: Andrew Duffin on October 2, 2003 03:58 PM
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