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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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September 9, 2011--------News Archive

Pregnancy Diet Influences Baby's Allergies
A possible link between what a mother eats during pregnancy and the risk of her child developing allergies has been identified.

When Do Infants Gain the Capacity for Pain?
The evidence suggests that developing brain networks become mature enough to identify pain as distinct from touch fairly late in development.

Early Motor Skill Training Jump Starts Infants
Study indicates infants at risk for autism could benefit from motor training.

September 8, 2011--------News Archive

Clue Found to Cause of Childhood Hydrocephalus
When it comes to the circuits that make up the olfactory system, it seems that sleep eliminates some smell receptors. Perhaps sleepless parenting of newborns preserves intense smell receptivity!

Sleep Controls Survival of "Smell" Neurons in Adults
When it comes to neurons that make up the olfactory system, it seems that sleep eliminates some smells. Perhaps sleepless parents are preserving intense smells!

Improving Treatment of Craniosynostosis
Craniosynostosis is a condition that causes the bone plates in the skull to fuse too soon.

September 7, 2011--------News Archive

In Socially Engaged Mice, White Fat Turns to Brown
Given an engaging place to live with greater opportunities for social stimulation, some energy-storing white fat is transformed to energy-burning brown fat.

Lifetime 'Dose' of Excess Weight Linked to Diabetes
Degree and duration of obesity in adolescents and young adults are important for type 2 diabetes risk, especially for Hispanics and blacks.

Mom's Use of Oxycodone Not Safe for Breastfeeding
Doctors have been prescribing codeine for postpartum pain management for many years. Until recently, it was considered safe to breastfeed while taking.

September 6, 2011--------News Archive

New Map of Where Tastes are Coded in the Brain
How Does the Brain Know What the Tongue Knows?

Phthalates and Decrease In Mental-Motor Growth
Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals widely present in the environment, and are linked to increased behavioral problems at age 3.

Missing Genes Separate Coach Potato from Action
You may think your lack of resolve to get off the couch to exercise is because you're lazy, but research has discovered it may be you are missing key genes.

September 5, 2011--------News Archive

Found, Gene Defect Predisposing You to Leukemia
Those at risk because of family history may soon obtain tests to detect the genetic error before symptoms emerge.

New Blood Sugar Control for Diabetes
Study finds inflammation may be part of the solution, not the problem.

WHO Child Growth Charts

In a study published in the journal Developmental Science, researchers from Kennedy Krieger Institute and Vanderbilt University show that sticky mittens can impact infants' preferences for faces. Sticky mittens have...
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In a new study published today in the journal Developmental Science, researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Vanderbilt University found that early motor experiences can shape infants' preferences for objects and faces. The study findings demonstrate that providing infants with "sticky mittens" to manipulate toys increases their subsequent interest in faces, suggesting advanced social development.

This study supports a growing body of evidence that early motor development and self-produced motor experiences contribute to infants' understanding of the social world around them. Conversely, this implies that when motor skills are delayed or impaired – as in autism – future social interactions and development could be negatively impacted.

"Our results provide us with a new way to think about typical, and also atypical, development," said Klaus Libertus, PhD, the study's lead author and a research scientist at Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Autism and Related Disorders.

"The mind is not independent from the body, especially during development. As motor skills advance, other domains follow suit, indicating strong connections between seemingly unrelated domains. Such connections have exciting implications, suggesting that interventions could target the motor domain to foster social development."

Previous research has found that infants diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) show less interest in faces and social orienting. While the current study was conducted with typically developing infants, it indicates that infants who are at risk for ASD or show signs of abnormal social development may benefit from motor training as early as 3 months of age.

"For parents, this means that early motor development is very important and they should encourage motor experiences and active exploration by their child," said Dr. Libertus. "Fostering motor development doesn't have to be complex or require sticky mittens. Any interactions or games that encourage a child to develop independent motor skills are important."

In the study, the researchers divided 36, typically-developing, 3-month-old infants into two groups – one receiving active motor experiences and the other receiving passive experiences. Infants in the active group were given mittens affixed with strips of Velcro, known as "sticky mittens." The researchers observed as infants in the active group played with the "sticky mittens" for 10 minutes each day for two weeks. While wearing the mittens, a brief swipe of the infants' arm made toys, also covered in Velcro, "stick" as if the infant had successfully grasped the object. Parents first demonstrated this by attaching the toy to the mitten, but then the toy was removed and the infant was encouraged to independently reach for the toy again.

In the passive group, infants were fitted with aesthetically similar mittens and toys, but without Velcro. Passive infants also played with the mittens and toys for 10 minutes each day for two weeks, but were only passive observers as parents provided stimulation by moving the toy and touching it to the inside of the infants' palms.

After two weeks of daily training, the researchers tracked the infants' eye movements while they watched images of faces and toys flash on a computer screen. Infants in the passive and active groups were compared with each other, as well as to two control groups of untrained infants comprised of non-reaching 3-month-olds and independently-reaching 5-month-olds. Researchers found the following:

  • The active group showed more interest in faces rather than objects. In contrast, the passive group showed no preference.
  • Infants in the active group focused on faces first, suggesting strengthening of a spontaneous preference for faces.
  • When compared to the untrained control groups, the social preferences of the 3-month-old infants who experienced active training were similar to those of the untrained 5-month-olds, indicating advanced development following training.
  • Finally, individual differences in motor activity observed between all 3-month-old infants in the study were predictive of their spontaneous orienting to faces. Regardless of training experiences, the more reaching attempts infants made, the stronger was their tendency to look at faces. Thus, motor experiences seem to drive social development.

"The most surprising result of our study is that we see a connection between early motor experiences and the emergence of orienting towards faces," said Dr. Libertus. "Logically, one would predict exactly the opposite. But in the light of seeing actions as serving a social purpose, it does make sense."

A key question researchers hope to answer next is whether these early changes will translate into future gains for these children. "Our results indicate a new direction for research on social development in infants," said Dr. Libertus. Dr. Libertus and his colleagues will continue to observe these children to see if the social development benefits achieved during the current study are sustained one year later.

Support for this study was provided by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

The Kennedy Krieger Institute is internationally recognized for improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain and spinal cord, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD serves more than 16,000 individuals each year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services and school-based programs.

Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis. For more information on Kennedy Krieger Institute, visit www.kennedykrieger.org.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/kki-eme090811.php