Teenage boys who eat fish at least once a week score higher on intelligence tests than boys who did not eat fish, according to new research from Swedish researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.

Their study, published in the March issue of Acta Paediatrica, studied 3,972 males, surveying them first when they were 15-year-olds, and then looking at the cognitive scores the boys received in the Swedish military conscription records three years later.

"We found a clear link between frequent fish consumption and higher scores when the teenagers ate a fish at least once a week," said Kjell Toren. "When they ate fish more than once a week the improvement almost doubled."

Those who ate fish once a week scored 6 percent higher than those who didn't, and those who ate fish more than once a week scored nearly 11 percent higher.

[Some researchers think eating fish helped early humans develop bigger brains.]

While the mechanism that links fish consumption to improved cognitive performance is unclear, the researchers suspect it is linked to the high amounts of the fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 found in fish.

Inside Science News Service is supported by the American Institute of Physics.