Dear Dr. Roach: I love fish, but I am worried about mercury. I read that one could get too much mercury by eating too much fish. I can find no reference to mercury on the packaging. I also like to finish a package before going on to something else. By eating fish three or four times a week, am I getting too much mercury at one time?
A: Some fish have much more mercury than others, and I would advise finding fish you like with low mercury levels. Shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish are all low in mercury. You should avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, as these have quite high levels. Many types of frozen tuna, especially bigeye, also are high in mercury and should be eaten sparingly.
The actual detailed data of mercury content in fish are available for those who want at tinyurl.com/FDA-fish-mercury.
If you eat a lot of fish in one week, cut back in the next week or two. Your body can get rid of the type of mercury in fish over time.
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Dear Dr. Roach: I seem to remember a case a few years ago of a person developing abnormal sexual behavior due to a brain tumor, which went away when the tumor was surgically removed. Is there any truth to this? Is it medically possible for a brain tumor to cause sexual deviance or abnormal sexual attractions?
A: There are numerous case reports of people having dramatic changes to their sexual behavior in association with brain tumors, bleeding aneurisms, seizures and encephalitis, stroke and medication for Parkinson's disease. While these cases are well-documented, the vast majority of people, these neurological conditions have no effect on their sexual behaviors, so I would be cautious about saying sexual behavior is a result of a neurological abnormality.
However, a dramatic change in sexual behavior, or any other personality trait, should lead a clinician to suspect a structural brain abnormality.