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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
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

Medieval woodcut of cesarean delivery
Katharine Park, the Samuel Zemurray Jr. and Doris Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of the History of Science, Harvard

Studying dead women’s cut-up bodies was not what Katharine Park originally set out to do. “I was writing a social history of medicine in Florence, a topic I chose basically just because I got to go” to that fabled Italian city, she joked.

But while working in those ancient halls amid so much beauty, Park said, “I kept finding stories about women’s bodies being cut up. I remember I came across one entry in a diary, where the husband says his wife died, and he requested her to be autopsied. I was like, huh? Autopsy?”

Most scholars assume that autopsy and dissection were taboo in medieval Europe; if they were conducted, they were illicit and done only on the bodies of criminals by intrepid scientists and doctors, flying in the face of clerical authority in the name of pursuing knowledge.

But Park, the Samuel Zemurray Jr. and Doris Zemurray Stone Radcliffe Professor of the History of Science, discovered quite another story in the Florentine libraries. “This was a very wealthy, patrician woman. The story didn’t compute. And I kept finding little tiny bits and pieces about female bodies being opened over the years. By the late ’90s, I had a critical mass of the stuff, and it all felt so counterintuitive. It was time to see what it was all about.”

“As it turns out, the female body really lay at the heart of the development of autopsy and dissection as medical practices.”

According to Park, dissection grew out of autopsy, and autopsy grew out of embalming. The interest in specifically women stemmed from a desire to understand the origins of life. As such, it was all sanctioned by the church.

“The functions of the uterus came to symbolize what they didn’t know. The idea was that the female body was really mysterious. Male bodies are all out there; everything about male identity is all on the outside. The uterus and female body are the last medical secret, a sign that they thought medicine had come to a point where it can penetrate most obscure workings of reproduction.”

It was always the uterus that was dissected first, according to Park, “except in the case of holy women,” she explained. “Then they would dissect the heart. The thought was, this woman has died, and she might be a saint. We can embalm her because the body is useful for establishing a cult. Then you have her insides, and she said she had Jesus Christ in her heart. Well, you might as well open it up and look for Jesus.”

“The fact is that human dissection is not a Renaissance invention,” Park continued.

“Anything having to do with medicine, health care, the human body — women are at the center. We’re going to have to rewrite a whole lot of pieces of history of early medicine.”

Park’s research came together in her book “Secrets of Women: Gender, Generation, and the Origins of Human Dissection,” which was rereleased in paperback a year ago.

“I found that instead of this investment in the integrity of the human body, social history and religious sources tell us that the human body in medieval Christianity was something to be torn about,” she said. “The religion was about dismembered bodies. Christian ritual is organized around body parts. It became clear to me from the religious end that the assumption we had about medieval bodies was not holding up. In the end, I wanted to make it clear there was no religious prohibition against dissection.”

If this is true, then where did the idea that is was prohibited come from?

” It was a 19th century myth,” said Park, “like that before Christopher Columbus everyone thought the world was flat. People are absolutely wedded to a view that says ‘We are modern, and they were stupid.’ ”

Park even found evidence that people long ago were even aware of hereditary illnesses and used dissection to investigate.

“I found one case of a young boy’s death, wherein the father asked the physician to autopsy his son so that he could have medical advice for his other children.”

“These people were very good observers. Even if they didn’t have the scientific tools we have today, there was nothing wrong with their brains.”
“Every time I read something in The New York Times that Leonardo da Vinci had to hide the fact that he was doing dissection, and every time I listen to a tour guide in Italy tell these stories, it just kills me. I don’t know how to get rid of this myth.”