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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
 
September 16, 2011--------News Archive

Preschoolers' Math Performance Predicts Later Skill
Study reveals how early number sense and elementary math scores are related.

Estrogen Reverses Severe Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension is a rare and serious condition that affects 2 to 3 million individuals in the U.S., mostly women, and can lead to heart failure.

September 15, 2011--------News Archive

Protein In Heart Target for Colon Cancer Therapies
A protein critical in heart development may also play a part in colon cancer progression.

Defining Hereditary Deafness
The precise diagnosis of disease and developmental syndromes often depends on understanding the specific genetics underlying each.

Engineers Probe Mechanics Behind Progeria
Pulling the tail of mutated protein could help illuminate problems with it's misfolding.

September 14, 2011--------News Archive

A Vaccine for TB?
A potential vaccine against tuberculosis has been found to completely eliminate tuberculosis bacteria from infected tissues in some mice.

Controlling Stem Cell's Form Can Determine Its Fate
The scaffolding on which stem cell cultures are grown has more influence on the new shape and function of those cells than ever expected.

September 13, 2011--------News Archive

Improving Women and Children's Health Worldwide
For less than $100, poor, pregnant women in India can give birth in a private hospital for low-income families, comparable in quality to expensive, private ones.

Found: Gene for 3 Child Neurodegenerative Diseases
Leukodystrophies are inherited disorders affecting the white matter of the brain and abnormally interferring with nerve impulses transmitted through axon cells.

Fast-Paced, Fantasy TV Affects Learning In Children
Young children who watch fast-paced, fantastical television shows may become handicapped in their readiness for learning.

September 12, 2011--------News Archive

Common Gene Associated With Aortic Dissection
Multi-institutional study reveals risk factor that doubles chance of developing silent killer.

Critical Similarity Between Two Stem Cell Types
Natural stem cells and laboratory induced stem cells (IPCs) create the same proteins.

WHO Child Growth Charts


Bone-like cell growth on nanofibers: confocal microscope images detail the growth of a human bone marrow stromal cell (actin filaments in the cell "skeleton " are stained orange) on a nanofiber...Click here for larger image.


"Form follows function!" was the cry of early 20th century architects basing design choices on the intended use for the building. Cell biologists may be turning that concept on its head.

New research by a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that stem cells can be induced to develop into specific cell types by controlling the shape of the scaffold underneath. These results are important to the design of materials needed to induce regeneration of lost or damaged tissues.

Tissue engineering seeks to repair or re-grow damaged body tissues, often using stem cells. Stem cells are basic repair units in the body that have the ability to develop into any of several different forms. The NIST experiments looked at primary human bone marrow stromal cells. These are adult stem cells that can be isolated from bone marrow and can "differentiate" into bone, fat or cartilage cells.

But how do you ensure that the stem cells turn into the type you need? Chemical cues have been shown to work when researchers identified the proper additives—a hormone in the case of bone cells. Other research has suggested that cell differentiation on flat surfaces can be controlled by patterning the surface to restrict the locations where growing cells can attach.

The experiments at NIST are believed to be the first head-to-head comparison of five popular tissue scaffold designs to examine the effect of architecture alone on bone marrow cells without adding any biochemical supplements other than the substrate called cell growth medium.

The scaffolds, made of a biocompatible polymer, are only meant to provide a temporary implant to gives cells a firm structure on which to grow and ultimately rebuild tissue. The experiment included microscopic structures looking like clumps of insect-eaten lettuce, freeform - looking like microscopic rods stacked in a crisscross pattern, and electrospun nanofibers looking like a random nest of thin fibers.

Bone marrow stromal cells were cultured on each substrate, then analyzed to see which cell groups were most effective at creating deposits of calcium—a telltale of bone cell activity. Microarray analysis also was used to determine patterns of gene expression for the cultured cells.

The results show that the stem cells will differentiate quite efficiently on the nanofiber scaffolds—even without any hormone additives—but not so on the other architectures.

The distinction between these scaffolds, says NIST biologist Carl Simon, Jr., seems to be shape. Mature bone cells are characteristically long and stringy with several extended branches. Of the five different scaffolds, only the nanofiber one, in effect, forces the cells to a similar shape, long and branched, as they try to find anchor points. Being in the shape of a bone cell seems to induce the cells to activate the genes that ultimately produce bone tissue.

"This suggests that a good strategy to design future scaffolds would be to take into account what shape you want to put the cells in," says Simon, adding,"That's kind of a tall order though, you'd have to understand a lot of stuff: how cell morphology influences cell behavior, and then how the three-dimensional structure can be used to control it."

Despite the research still to be done on this method, the ability to physically direct cell differentiation by shape alone potentially would be simpler, cheaper and possibly safer than using biochemical supplements, he added.

The work was supported in part by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health.