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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 one million visitors each month.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human. The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.

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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 ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts | News Archive May 20, 2013

 
Human body systems
Common symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) include a feeling of pressure or fullness in the vagina and bladder- or bowel-related problems.







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Female reproduction may be tied to immune status

Previous studies have found this link in human males, but not females, even though the immune system is related to survival—the first priority of the body.

An animal’s energetic resources must be carefully allocated, said University of Illinois anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy, who led the new research. The body’s first priority is maintenance, which includes tasks inherently related to survival, including immune function, she said. Any leftover energy is then dedicated to reproduction.


In the human body, there is a balance between resource allocation to maintenance and reproductive effort.


Environmental stressors can lessen available resources, said Clancy, who co-directs the Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology at Illinois. Her study appears in the American Journal of Human Biology.

The study participants were a group of healthy, premenopausal, rural Polish women who participate in traditional farming practices. Researchers collected the women’s urine and took saliva samples during the harvest season, when physical activity levels are at their peak. This physical work constrains available energetic resources. In previous studies, the highest levels of ovarian suppression occurred during the harvest season.

Researchers measured participants’ salivary ovarian hormone levels daily over one menstrual cycle. They also tested urine samples for levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a commonly used marker of inflammation. “Depending on the other factors that you look at alongside it, CRP can tell you about immune function or it can tell you about psychosocial stress, because CRP has been correlated to both of those things in other populations,” Clancy said.


The researchers observed a negative relationship between CRP (C-reactive protein) and progesterone in the Polish women – in women with high CRP, progesterone was low. Further, the researchers found that estradiol and the age of first menstruation were the strongest predictors of CRP levels.


Clancy noted that it is too early to tell whether these correlational relationships indicate a causal relationship in which inflammation suppresses ovarian hormones. However, she believes that there are two possible pathways that explain these results: “One is that there is an internal mechanism, and this local inflammation drives higher levels of CRP, and that is what’s correlating with the lower progesterone. The other possibility is that there is an external stressor like psychosocial or immune stress driving allocation to maintenance effort, which in turn is suppressing ovarian hormones.”

Clancy believes her research will help women “understand their bodies better.”

Clancy: “From an anthropological perspective, these trade-offs are really important because they help us understand the timing of different life events: Why does someone hit puberty when they do, why do they begin reproducing when they do, why do they space babies the way they do? It’s really interesting to see the interplay between a person’s intentions about when and why to have children, and then their own body’s allocations to reproduction or not,”

Editor's notes: To reach Kathryn Clancy, call 217-244-1509; email kclancy@illinois.edu.
The paper, “Relationships Between Biomarkers of Inflammation, Ovarian Steroids, and Age at Menarche in a Rural Polish Sample,” is available online or from the U. of I. News Bureau.

http://news.illinois.edu/news/13/0517reproduction_immunity_KathrynClancy.html

http://news.illinois.edu/news/13/0517reproduction_immunity_KathrynClancy.html

Original article: http://news.illinois.edu/news/13/0517reproduction_immunity_KathrynClancy.html