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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 22, 2011--------News Archive

Placental Seratonin Critical For Brain Development
For the first time, the human placenta is found to synthesize serotonin - critical to brain development, in a process that could be affected by the mother's nutrition.

Plant Hormone Reveals Molecule Critical To Embryo
The mechanism regulating embryonic development in plants displays similarities to a signalling pathway in embryonic stem cells in mammals.


April 21, 2011--------News Archive

Insecticide Linked to Decrease In Cognitive Function
Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health report evidence of a link between prenatal exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos and deficits in IQ and working memory by age seven.

The ‘Core Pathway’ of Aging
Scientists find root molecular path in the decline of an aging cell.


April 20, 2011--------News Archive

'Thirdhand Smoke' Poses Danger to Unborn Lungs
Stepping outside to smoke a cigarette may not be enough to protect the lungs and life of a pregnant woman's unborn child.

A Way To Predict Premature Birth?
A new study suggests that more than 80 percent of pre-term births can be spotted in advance with a blood test taken during the second trimester of a pregnancy.


April 19, 2011--------News Archive

Ovarian Cancer May Originate in Fallopian Tube
High-grade serous ovarian cancer is thought by many scientists to often be a fallopian tube malignancy masquerading as an ovarian one.

Parents Like Genetic Testing for Their Kids
Parents offered genetic testing to predict their risks of common, adult-onset health conditions say they would also test their children.


April 18, 2011--------News Archive

Interventions Don't Always Net Healthy Newborn
High rates of induction, primary C-Section, do not always improve infant outcomes in low-risk women at community hospitals.

New Approach to Treating MLL Leukemia In Babies
A Loyola University Health System study points to a promising new approach to treating an aggressive and usually fatal leukemia in babies.

WHO Child Growth Charts

In low-risk pregnant women, high induction and first-cesarean delivery rates do not lead to improved outcomes for newborns, according to new research published in the April issue of The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine.

The finding that rates of intervention at delivery – whether high, low, or in the middle – had no bearing on the health of new babies brings into question the skyrocketing number of both inductions and cesarean deliveries in the United States.

“Like virtually all medical therapies and procedures, these interventions entail some risk for the mother, and there is no evidence in this study that they benefit the baby,” said Christopher Glantz, M.D., M.P.H., study author and professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “In my mind, if you are getting the same outcome with high and low rates of intervention, I say ‘Do no harm’ and go with fewer interventions.”

Similar to other fields of medicine, great variation exists in obstetric practices, particularly in rates of induction of labor and cesarean delivery. A limited number of studies have examined if and how these rates are associated with improvement in the health of newborns and reported mixed results.

“‘More is better’ seems to be the epitome of U.S. healthcare today, with doctors and patients often choosing to do more rather than less, even when there is no evidence to support it,” noted Glantz. “But, as our study suggests, more may not always be better.”

Glantz acknowledges that the optimal rate of any medical intervention is difficult to define, and that larger studies are needed to better understand the relationship between intervention and outcome. In the meantime, he believes it’s hard to justify high rates of interventions – especially elective – in low-risk pregnant women without any known benefits to newborns, given that these interventions pose maternal risks.

In the study, Glantz focused on pregnant women delivering in level I hospitals – those lacking a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU – because they care primarily for low-risk women who do not have major complications, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or other severe disease. The majority of women in the United States deliver in level I hospitals.

Through a birth certificate database, Glantz obtained and analyzed data from 10 level I hospitals in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York and calculated the rates of induction and cesarean delivery at each between 2004 and 2008. Not surprisingly, the rates varied widely.

To determine the health of newborns delivered at these hospitals, he looked at three outcomes: transfer of the newborn to a hospital with a NICU (signifying the presence of complications that required a higher level of care); immediate ventilation or breathing assistance; and a low 5-minute Apgar score (a quick assessment of the overall wellbeing of a newborn).

Using statistical models, Glantz assessed the relationship between rates of induction and cesarean delivery and rates of the three neonatal outcomes. He found intervention rates had no consistent effect on newborns: Whether a hospital did a lot or very few interventions, there was no association with how sick or healthy the infants were.

Even after a second round of analysis that accounted for differences among pregnant women that could potentially impact the results, the finding was the same – hospitals with high intervention rates had newborn outcomes indistinguishable from hospitals with low rates.

According to Glantz, “If higher intervention rates were preventing negative outcomes that otherwise would have occurred, and lower intervention rates led to negative outcomes that potentially could have been avoided, the data would have revealed these relationships, but there were no such trends.”

The study included a group of approximately 28,800 women who labored (some naturally and some induced), followed by re-analysis of 29,700 women who had no history of previous cesarean section (some of whom ultimately delivered vaginally and others by cesarean section). Many women in the first group were also analyzed in the second group. Women who had had a previous cesarean delivery were excluded from the second analysis, because more than 90 percent of women with previous cesareans deliver by repeat cesarean, and these are not necessarily being done to benefit the newborns.

Glantz recognizes that some labor inductions and cesarean sections, when done for specific, established medical reasons, are necessary and lead to improved outcomes. But some interventions are elective or marginally indicated, driven by social reasons such as convenience and patient requests to deliver with “their” physician.

Labor induction is not always successful and is associated with an increased likelihood of cesarean delivery. Cesarean delivery, while common, is a major surgery and like all surgeries increases the risk of infection, bleeding, the need for additional surgeries, and results in longer recovery times.

“It is always important to try to find out when interventions will do the most good, and this study is one more log on the fire for researchers and physicians exploring these issues,” said Jennifer Bailit, M.D., M.P.H, a maternal fetal medicine expert at the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland who conducts similar research. “Understanding when and how an intervention can best improve outcomes is important to physicians and patients.”

The study was funded by the University of Rochester Medical Center and the New York State Department of Health. A major strength of the study is its large size, while limitations include the inability to assess and control for all possible factors influencing interventions – a constraint of database research.