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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.

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 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 29, 2013

 
Angiogenesis cascade

Angiogenesis occurs in the healthy body for healing wounds and for restoring blood flow to tissues after trauma, injury or insult. In females, angiogenesis also occurs during the monthly reproductive cycle (to rebuild the uterus lining, to mature the egg during ovulation) and during pregnancy (to build the placenta, the circulation between mother and fetus).

The healthy body controls angiogenesis through a series of "on" and "off" switches:

The main "on" switches are known as angiogenesis-stimulating growth factors
The main "off switches" are known as angiogenesis inhibitors

When angiogenic growth factors are produced in excess of angiogenesis inhibitors, the balance is tipped in favor of blood vessel growth. When inhibitors are present in excess of stimulators, angiogenesis is stopped. The normal, healthy body maintains a perfect balance of angiogenesis modulators. In general, angiogenesis is "turned off" by the production of more inhibitors than stimulators.


Credit: Lymphedema People http://www.lymphedemapeople.com/thesite/angiogenesis.htm






WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

Engineered stem cell advance toward treatment for ALS

Transplantation of human stem cells in an experiment conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison improved survival and muscle function in rats used to model ALS, a nerve disease that destroys nerve control of muscles, causing death by respiratory failure.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is sometimes called "Lou Gehrig's disease." According to the ALS Association, the condition strikes about 5,600 Americans each year. Only about half of patients are alive three years after diagnosis.

In work recently completed at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, Masatoshi Suzuki, an assistant professor of comparative biosciences, and his colleagues used adult stem cells from human bone marrow and genetically engineered the cells to produce compounds called growth factors that can support damaged nerve cells.

The researchers then implanted the cells directly into the muscles of rats that were genetically modified to have symptoms and nerve damage resembling ALS.


In people, the motor neurons that trigger contraction of leg muscles are up to three feet long. These nerve cells are often the first to suffer damage in ALS, but it's unclear where the deterioration begins. Many scientists have focused on the closer end of the neuron, at the spinal cord, but Suzuki observes that the distant end, where the nerve touches and activates the muscle, is often damaged early in the disease.

The connection between the neuron and the muscle, called the neuro-muscular junction, is where Suzuki focuses his attention.


"This is one of our primary differences," Suzuki says. "We know that the neuro-muscular junction is a site of early deterioration, and we suspected that it might be the villain in causing the nerve cell to die. It might not be an innocent victim of damage that starts elsewhere."

Previously, Suzuki found that injecting glial cell line-derived neurotropic factor (GDNF) at the junction helped the neurons survive. The new study, published in the journal Molecular Therapy on May 28, expands the research to show a similar effect from a second compound, called vascular endothelial growth factor.


In the study, Suzuki found that using stem cells to deliver vascular endothelial growth factor alone improved survival and delayed the onset of disease and the decline in muscle function. That result mirrored his earlier study with GDNF.

But the real advance, Suzuki says, was finding an even better result from using stem cells that create both of these two growth factors.


"In terms of disease-free time, overall survival, and sustaining muscle function, we found that delivering the combination was more powerful than either growth factor alone. The results would provide a new hope for people with this terrible disease."  Suzuki says.

The new research was supported by the ALS Association, the National Institutes of Health, the University of Wisconsin Foundation, and other groups.

The injected stem cells survived for at least nine weeks, but did not become neurons. Instead, their contribution was to secrete one or both growth factors.

Originally, much of the enthusiasm for stem cells focused on the hope of replacing damaged cells, but Suzuki's approach is different. "These motor nerve cells have extremely long connections, and replacing these cells is still challenging. But we aim to keep the neurons alive and healthy using the same growth factors that the body creates, and that's what we have shown here."

For the test, Suzuki used ALS model rats with a mutation that is found in a small percentage of ALS patients who have a genetic form of the disease. "This model has been accepted as the best test bed for ALS experiments," says Suzuki.


By using adult mesenchymal stem cells, Suzuki's technique avoided the danger of tumor that can arise with the transplant of embryonic stem cells and related "do-anything" cells. Importantly, mesenchymal stem cells have been already used in clinical trials for various human diseases.


In the future, Suzuki hopes to apply his approach by using clinical grade stem cells. "Because this is a fatal and untreatable disease, we hope this could enter a clinical trial relatively soon."

Original article: http://www.news.wisc.edu/21828