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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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Disclaimer: The Visible Embryo web site is provided for your general information only. The information contained on this site should not be treated as a substitute for medical, legal or other professional advice. Neither is The Visible Embryo responsible or liable for the contents of any websites of third parties which are listed on this site.
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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
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June 17, 2011--------News Archive

Postnatal Depression Linked to Depression in Child
The effects of maternal depression on the likelihood of the child to develop depression may begin as early as infancy.

First Diagnostic Test for Hereditary Child's Disease
A breakthrough in genetic research has uncovered the defect behind a rare hereditary child’s disease that inhibits the body’s ability to break down vitamin D.

Walking, Sex, Spicy Food Favored to Bring On Labor
Near the end of pregnancy, some women take it upon themselves to try to induce labor, mostly by walking, having sex, eating spicy food or stimulating their nipples.


June 16, 2011--------News Archive

Effects of Premature Birth Can Reach Into Adulthood
Premature infants are less healthy, have more social and school struggles and face a greater risk of heart-health problems in adulthood.

Mouse Genetics Are A Resource For Human Genetics
Mouse gene knockouts will empower mammalian gene studies for a generation.


June 15, 2011--------News Archive

Taming the Molecule's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The two forms of a molecule are called enantiomers and can have radically different properties in biology. Thalidomide is a good example of how different forms of the same molecule can have disastrous consequences.

Fear Activates Young, Immature Infant Brain Cells
Fear burns memories into our brain, and new research by University of California, Berkeley, neuroscientists explains how.


June 14, 2011--------News Archive

Malnourishment - Pregnant or Lactating - Key to Diseases in Children
Study in primates establishes critical role that undernourishment in mothers-to-be and lactating females has in creating type 2 diabetes in offspring.

We Are All Mutants
The first whole-genome measure of human mutation predicts 60 new mutations exist within each of us at birth.

Canadian Women On Technology Used in Childbirth
This generation's choice of C-section does not reflect knowledge of the procedure's complications to mother and child.


June 13, 2011--------News Archive

Cell Division Linked to Oxygen Levels
Johns Hopkins reports that the MCM proteins, which promote cell division, also directly control the oxygen-sensing HIF-1 protein which controls cell division.

Many Genetic Keys Needed to Unlock Autism
Hundreds of small genetic variations are associated with autism spectrum disorders, including an area of DNA that may be key to understanding why humans are social animals.

Children Eschew the Fat - If Dad Says So
Dad's choice of where to eat could literally tip the scales on his children's health.

Mom's B Vitamins Lower Child's Colorectal Cancer
Mice born to mothers who are fed a diet supplemented with B vitamins are less likely to develop intestinal tumors

WHO Child Growth Charts

Fear burns memories into our brain, and new research by University of California, Berkeley, neuroscientists explains how.

Scientists have long known that fear and other highly emotional experiences lead to incredibly strong memories. In a study appearing online today (Tuesday, June 14) in advance of publication in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, UC Berkeley's Daniela Kaufer and colleagues report a new way for emotions to affect memory: The brain's emotional center, the amygdala, induces the hippocampus, a relay hub for memory, to generate new neurons.

In a fearful situation, these newborn neurons get activated by the amygdala and may provide a "blank slate" to strongly imprint the new fearful memory, she said. In evolutionary terms, it means new neurons are likely helping you to remember the lion that nearly killed you.

"We remember emotional events much more strongly than daily experiences, and for a long time we have known that connections between the amygdala and hippocampus help to encode this emotional information," said Kaufer, an assistant professor of integrative biology and a member of UC Berkeley's Wills Neuroscience Institute.

"Our research shows that amygdala input actually pushes the hippocampus to make new neurons from a unique population of neural stem cells. This provides completely new cells that get activated in response to emotional input."

The finding has implications for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other problems caused by faulty regulation of emotional memory.

"Many affective disorders involve disordered emotional memories like PTSD, depression and anxiety. We think that newborn neurons may play a role in creating these emotional memories," she said.

The finding comes a year after brain researcher Fred Gage at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., showed that the formation of new memories is associated with increased activation of two-week-old newborn nerve cells in the hippocampus that are derived from adult neural stem cells.

Adult stem cells appear to differentiate continually into new nerve cells – nearly 100 each day – yet half of those newborn neurons are slated for death within four weeks after their birth. If they are highly activated, however – such as in learning new complex information – many more of them will survive and presumably help in establishing new memories in the brain.

Kaufer, who conducts research on the effects of stress on the brain, knew that many types of positive and negative experiences, such as exercise and stress, affect the rate of neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Along with graduate students Elizabeth Kirby, the lead author of the study, and Aaron Friedman, she was intrigued by the idea that emotions might affect neurogenesis in the hippocampus, since the brain's clearinghouse for emotions, the amygdala, is connected to the hippocampus via multiple neural circuits. To test this, Kirby focused on the basolateral amygdala, the region of the almond-shaped structure that handles negative emotions, including stress, anxiety and fear.

Using rats, Kirby surgically destroyed the basolateral amygdala and discovered that the production of new nerve cells in the hippocampus decreased. To make sure that the cell damage created when the amygdala was surgically destroyed was not affecting the experiment, the researchers borrowed a gene therapy technique from Robert Sapolsky's lab at Stanford University to genetically introduce potassium channels into the amygdala, which shut down the activity of the nerve cells without causing injury. This also decreased neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

They next tested Gage's theory that new neurons are especially sensitive to input two weeks after they form. Kirby and Kaufer labeled hippocampal cells created over a three-day period in a group of rats, and then conditioned a fear response in these rats two weeks later. They then confronted the rats with the same fearful situation or a neutral yet novel context the next day. When they examined the brains, they found that the newborn neurons had been specifically activated by the fearful situation. However, when they destroyed the basolateral amygdala, new neurons were no longer activated in response to the fearful memory.

"The research suggests that newborn neurons play a role not only in the formation of memory, but also in helping to create the emotional context of memory," Kirby said. It also suggests that the basolateral amygdala drives the ability of new neurons to be part of an emotional memory.

The team now plans to see whether other negative stimuli, such as stress and anxiety, similarly cooperate with amygdala activity to alter neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

The coauthors of the paper with Kaufer, Kirby and Friedman are UC Berkeley graduate student David Covarrubias and undergraduates Carl Ying and Wayne G. Sun; Ki Ann Goosens, an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Stanford's Sapolsky.

Kaufer's work is funded by a 2010 BRAINS (Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists) award from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health and a young investigator award from The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, formerly the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD). Kirby is supported by a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine pre-doctoral fellowship and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Research fellowship from the U. S. Department of Defense. Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-06/uoc--fba061411.php