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Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development awarded Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grants to develop The Visible Embryo. Initally designed to evaluate the internet as a teaching tool for first year medical students, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than ' million visitors each month.


WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform
The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a new Web site to help researchers, doctors and patients obtain reliable information on high-quality clinical trials. Now you can go to one website and search all registers to identify clinical trial research underway around the world!



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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
Click weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
April 15, 2011--------News Archive

TET1 Crucial to Fetal Development and Cancer
TET1 ensures normal fetal development and is crucial when certain genes need to turn on or off during cell division.

Aging Eggs Key to Miscarriage and Birth Defects
By the time a woman is in her 40s, about half her eggs are probably chromosomally abnormal; for women in their 20s, it's probably about 10 percent.


April 14, 2011--------News Archive

Female Body Basis for Medical Autopsy/Dissection
The female body is at the heart of the development of autopsy and dissection beginning with medical practices from the middle ages.

A Measure of Cell Health - The Length of Telomeres
UCSF scientists report studies showing psychological stress leads to shorter telomeres – the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. The findings also suggest that exercise may prevent this damage.


April 13, 2011--------News Archive

Air Polution Prenatally Linked to Behavior Problems
Mothers' exposure during pregnancy to pollutants may lead to behavioral problems in their children.

Stress In Pregnancy May Create Obesity in Child
Increasing evidence supports that pregnancies that are physically or psychologically stressed are at higher risk of producing obese offspring.


April 12, 2011--------News Archive

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Studied for Lupus Therapy
Human umbilical cord blood stem cells found to benefit the treatment of lupus nephritis in mice with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Dopamine Controls Formation of New Brain Cells
The neurotransmitter dopamine acts as a handbreak turning off the production of stem cells forming new neurons in the adult brain.


April 11, 2011--------News Archive

Untangling The Complexity Of The Brain
There are an estimated one hundred billion nerve cells in the brain. Now scientists are moving closer to building a model of these connections and their functions.

New Treatment for Rare Recurrent Fever in Kids
A rare syndrome called periodic fever associated with aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis and cervical adenitis — or PFAPA — is diagnosed using tools from the Human Genome Project.


WHO Child Growth Charts

Research conducted at the University of Minnesota and Georgetown University suggests that a mother's nutritional or psychological stress during pregnancy and lactation may change her child's genes and put the child at increased risk for obesity later in life, but only if the baby is female.



Ruijun Han of the University of Minnesota Medical School's Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology will present the findings at a meeting of Experimental Biology, April 9-13, 2011, in Washington, DC.

The Minnesota team focused on the behavior of the neuropeptide Y (NPY), a neurotransmitter found in the brain and autonomic nervous system. NPY is associated with appetite stimulation and the storage of energy as fat. Building on prior research, the team undertook two studies, one involving mice and the other mouse embryonic stem cells.

In the first study, they wanted to determine if prenatal and postnatal stress exerted long-term effects on the activation of NPY and its Y2 receptor (Y2R) that would create fat cells and promote obesity.

First, they exposed pregnant mice to stress by feeding them a low-protein diet. This caused low birth weight in the offspring. Female offspring of the mice stressed during pregnancy and lactation grew faster after weaning when they were fed a high-fat diet. Within 2 months they developed abdominal fat, prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance) and increased upregulation of Y2R in their fat tissue.

Although male offspring of stressed mothers also had low birth weight, they did not develop obesity and had lower Y2R expression and better metabolic health, even when fed a high-fat diet.

"This indicates that maternal stress during pregnancy and lactation could induce gender-specific abdominal obesity and impaired glucose metabolism associated with increased plasma NPY and fat Y2R," says Dr. Han.

Dr. Zofia Zukowska, professor of physiology and the senior researcher of the study, says stress may affect NPY and Y2R in several ways.

"It could be that the mother's poor nutrition or other type of stress can affect fetal development by depriving the fetus of necessary nutrients or exposing it to levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine [adrenaline], which in turn up-regulates the NPY-Y2R system to affect metabolism and fat growth of the offspring."

The team sought to tease out these effects in the second study by observing how mice embryonic stem cells behave when over-exposed to stress hormones at a critical point during differentiation.

Embryonic stem cells that are treated with insulin and dexamathasone (synthetic glucocorticoid) will differentiate into fat cells. So the team exposed embryonic stem cells with epinephrine in a test dish and watched this process as the cells increased fat-cell formation and NPY expression.

The former stem cells also decreased DNA methylation, along the NPY promoter region. Through an non-genetic process, they altered expression of the NPY peptide in each cell inducing the cell to "remember" its new type (i.e., stem cells will remain committed to fat cell lineage and give rise to fat cells, instead of becoming or giving rise to another kind of cell).

"All of this data suggests that stress may induce epigenetic changes in NPY and its receptor genes and program [the offspring's DNA] for the future development of abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome," says Dr. Han.

Although mice are not people, the Minnesota team's research sheds light on the process by which fat cell volume and the number of fat cells are created, says Dr. Han.

"Adipocyte number before adolescence is a major determinant [of a person's risk of obesity], so intervention during pregnancy and childhood might be an efficient way to prevent adult obesity."

Original article: Maternal stress during pregnancy may affect child's obesity