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Revista Brasileira de Saúde Materno Infantil

On-line version ISSN 1806-9304


AVERSI-FERREIRA, Tales Alexandre  and  NASCIMENTO, Guilherme Nobre Lima do. The effect of acute and chronic exposure to ethanol on the developing encephalon: a review. Rev. Bras. Saude Mater. Infant. [online]. 2008, vol.8, n.3, pp.241-249. ISSN 1806-9304.

OBJECTIVES: to compare the acute and chronic effects of ethanol on the neural development, by analysis of the ontogenetic neural structure of mammals. METHODS: searches were performed in the following electronic databases: MEDLINE, SciElo, PubMed, LILACS, CAPES periodical, and the Open Journal System. The descriptors used were: "chronic ethanol toxicity", "chronic alcohol toxicity", "acute ethanol toxicity", "acute alcohol", "neural ontogenic development", "neuronal migration disturbances", "neural structure". The following inclusion criteria were used: articles published between 2003 and 2007, some classic articles in the field and an important neuropsychology textbook. RESULTS: the analysis of papers revealed that, although several studies of the chronic effects of ethanol exposure on the mammalian nervous system have been conducted, only a few have investigated the acute effects of ethanol on specific days of gestation, and these studies have revealed important disorders relating to the cerebral tissue. CONCLUSIONS: it should be recommended that women refrain from the consumption of ethanol during gestational phase to protect the fetus' health. Furthermore, the acute consumption of ethanol by women nearing the eighth or ninth week of gestation has been shown to be potentially harmful to the nervous tissue of the fetus.

Keywords : Ethanol; Neural ontogenic development; Brain; Public health.

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