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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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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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August 12, 2011--------News Archive

Common Drugs Reduce Postpartum Breast Cancer
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen, have been found to reduce the severity of postpartum breast cancers in animal models.

“Good Fat” Most Prevalent in Thin Children
Study at Joslin Diabetes Center and Children's Hospital Boston finds boosting brown fat levels may combat obesity epidemic.


August 11, 2011--------News Archive

Flame Retardant in California Pregnant Women
California’s strict flammability regulations may have led to levels two times higher for California residents than for people in the rest of the country.

Paper Money Worldwide Contains Bisphenol A
Research results also found that the most likely source of the BPA in the currency is the thermal paper used in cash register receipts.


August 10, 2011--------News Archive

Clues to How Hearts, Intestines and Key Organs Form
A newly-identified protein may hold the key to keeping appetite and blood sugar in check, according to a study by York University researchers.

Human Cells Engineered To Act As Sphincter Muscles
Researchers have built the first functional anal sphincters in the laboratory, suggesting a potential future treatment for incontinence.


August 9, 2011--------News Archive

What Is Your Child's Allergy Risk?
In a first of its kind study, babies followed from birth to 4 years were found to have less allergy and asthma attacks when their moms were exposed to allergens.

Teaching Pediatricians When and How to Toilet Train
Potty training beginning at 18 months seems to be about average.


August 8, 2011--------News Archive

Why Women Suffer More Autoimmune Disease
The reason why diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis strike women more frequently than men.

Potential New Eye Tumor Treatment Discovered
Mistakes in some microRNAs help cells lacking tumor-suppressing Rb protein to proliferate into retinoblastoma.

Amniotic Fluid Can Monitor Earlier Fetal Development
New technology help determine fetal health earlier.

WHO Child Growth Charts

Sphincters are ring-like muscles that maintain constriction. Numerous sphincters exist in the human body, including those that control our release of urine and feces.

Sphincters are ring-like muscles that maintain constriction of a body passage. There are numerous sphincters in the human, including those in the release of urinary and rectal systems. Actually, there are two sphincters at the anus – one internal and one external. Fecal incontinence is the result of a weakened internal sphincter.

A high incidence of weakened internal fecal sphincters occurs in older adults, as well as in women who have had episiotomies during childbirth.

"Many individuals find themselves withdrawing from their social lives and attempting to hide their problem from their families, friends, and even their doctors," said Bitar.

Current options for repair of the internal anal sphincter include grafts of skeletal muscle, injectable silicone material or implantation of mechanical devices, all of which have high complication rates and limited success.

To engineer an internal anal sphincter in the lab, researchers used a small biopsy from a human sphincter from which they isolated smooth muscle cells, then multiplied those cells in the lab. In a ring-shaped mold, these cells were layered with nerve cells isolated from mice to build the sphincter.

The mold was then placed in an incubator for nine days, allowing tissue to form. The entire process takes about six weeks.

Made from muscle and nerve cells, the engineered sphincters developed a blood supply and maintained function when implanted in mice. Results are reported in the medical journal Gastroenterology.

"In essence, we have built a replacement sphincter that we hope can one day benefit human patients. This is the first bioengineered sphincter made with both muscle and nerve cells, making it 'pre-wired' for placement in the body," said senior author Khalil N. Bitar, Ph.D., professor of regenerative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Bitar performed the work when he was on the University of Michigan faculty with a colleague from Emory University.

Numerous laboratory tests of the engineered sphincters, including stimulating the nerve cells, showed normal tissue function, such as relaxation and contractton. The sphincters were then implanted just under the skin of mice to determine how they would respond in the body. Mice with suppressed immune systems were selected so that there would be no issues with rejection.

After 25 days of implantation, each sphincter was re-tested and also compared with the animals' native sphincters. The engineered sphincters had developed a blood vessel supply and continued to function like native tissue.

"The engineered sphincters were physiologically similar to native tissue," said Bitar. "This takes us one step closer to realizing the goal of using a patient's own cells to engineer a replacement sphincter in the lab."

Bitar's team had previously shown that circular pieces of tissue made from sphincter muscle cells displayed characteristics of native sphincters. However, the tissue lacked the nerve cells required for normal function in the body.

"Our latest advance, a sphincter engineered with muscle and nerve cells, will allow us to 'connect' the engineered tissue with nerve pathways in the intestine," said Bitar.

Bitar's group will continue the research in more advanced research models. The ultimate goal is to harvest both muscle and nerve cells from a patient, build a pre-wired sphincter in the lab, and implant it back in the same patient. Using the patient's own cells would eliminate the risk of rejection.

"While we have numerous challenges to meet, we have crossed a major hurdle," said Bitar. "This proof of concept research suggests that this strategy may be useful for treating a variety of neuromuscular conditions of the intestine. In addition, it could potentially be applied to other diseases of sphincter muscles, including urinary incontinence."

Co-researchers were Robert Gilmont, Ph.D., Sita Somara, Ph.D., and lead author Shreya A. Raghavan, a Ph.D. candidate, all now at Wake Forest Baptist; Daniel Teitelbaum M.D., from the University of Michigan; and Shanthi Srinivasan, M.D., from Emory University.

Media Contacts: Karen Richardson, krchrdsn@wakehealth.edu, (336) 716-4453 or Main Number (336) 716-4587.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is a fully integrated academic medical center located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The institution comprises the medical education and research components of Wake Forest School of Medicine, the integrated clinical structure and consumer brand Wake Forest Baptist Health, which includes North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Brenner Children's Hospital, the commercialization of research discoveries through the Piedmont Triad Research Park, as well a network of affiliated community based hospitals, physician practices, outpatient services and other medical facilities.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-08/wfbm-ruh080911.php