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Even Low Levels of Alcohol During Pregnancy Can Affect Fetal Brain Development

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Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher(s): National Scientific Council on the Developing Child

Author(s): National Scientific Council on the Developing Child

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Population and demographics (Children and youth)

Keywords: Developmental neurobiology; Child development; Neonatal health

Type: Report

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

The results of this study indicate that even exposure to low levels of alcohol during pregnancy can initiate a cascade of atypical development that results in distinct imbalances of excitation and inhibition during postnatal development and in the adult. This imbalance can be detrimental because the excitation and inhibition signals are critical for the maturation of brain circuits that control important functions.