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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 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




Researchers at MIT and Carnegie Mellon University are using both civil engineering and bioengineering approaches to study the behavior of a protein associated with progeria, a rare disorder in children that causes extremely rapid aging and usually ends in death from cardiovascular disease before age 16.

The disease is marked by the deletion of 50 amino acids near the end of the lamin-A protein, which helps support a cell's nuclear membrane.

At MIT, the researchers used molecular modeling — which obeys the laws of physics at the molecular scale — to simulate the behavior of the protein's tail under stress in much the same way a traditional civil engineer might test the strength of a beam: by applying pressure. In this instance, they created exact replicas of healthy and mutated lamin-A protein tails, pulling on them to see how they unraveled.

"Using engineering mechanics to understand the process of rapid aging disease may seem odd, but it actually makes a lot of sense," says Markus Buehler, a professor in MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering who also studies structural proteins found in bone and collagen.

In his new research, he worked with Kris Dahl, professor of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, and graduate students Zhao Qin of MIT and Agnieszka Kalinowski of Carnegie Mellon. They published their findings in the September issue of the Journal of Structural Biology.

The nuclear envelope is the double membrane surrounding the nucleus and separating genetic material from the liquid and other organelles within a cell.

In Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) the childhood disorder is caused by mutations in one of the major architectural proteins of the cell nucleus.

Top, Right - The uniform cell nucleus shape typically found in healthy individuals.

Bottom, Right - The cell nucleus is dramatically aberrant in its' morphology.

(Scaffidi et al., 2005)

In its natural state, a protein — and its tail — exist in complex folded configurations that differ with each protein type. Many misfolded proteins are associated with diseases. In molecular simulations, Qin and Buehler found that a healthy lamin-A protein tail unravels sequentially along its backbone strand, one amino acid at a time.

"It behaved much as if I pulled on a loose thread on my shirt cuff and watched it pull out stitch by stitch," said Qin.

By contrast, the mutant protein tail, when pulled, first breaks nearly in half forming a large gap near the middle of its folded structure, then begins unfolding sequentially. The MIT scientists found that it takes an additional 70 kilocalories per mole (or one unit of energy) to straighten the mutant tails. So the mutant protein is actually more stable than its healthy counterpart.

At Carnegie Mellon, Dahl and Kalinowski subjected lamin-A protein tails to heat, which causes proteins to denature or unfold. In their lab, they observed the same pattern of unraveling in healthy and mutated proteins as the MIT engineers did in their atomistic simulation.

Zhao Qin then wrote a mathematical equation converting the temperature differential seen in denaturing the mutant and healthy proteins (4.7 degrees Fahrenheit) to the unit of energy found in the atomistic simulations. He found that the increase in temperature very nearly matched the increase in energy.

This agreement validates the application of civil engineering methodology to the study of the mutated protein in diseased cells.

The results were counterintuitive to the civil engineers, however, who are accustomed to flawed materials being weaker — not stronger — than their unimpaired counterparts.

Lamin-A plays an important role in defining the mechanical properties of a cell's nuclear membrane as a component of the cell's nucleoskeleton. The nucleoskeleton must remain flexible enough to easily withstand deformation. In previous work, Dahl observed that nuclear membranes built from mutated proteins became very stiff and brittle, which can now be explained by the altered interactions observed in diseased cells.

"Our surprising finding that the defective mutant structure is actually more stable and more densely packed than the healthy protein," said Buehler. "is contrary to our intuition that a 'defective' structure is less stable and breaks more easily, which is what engineers would expect in building materials. However, the mechanics of proteins are governed by the principles of nanomechanics, which can be distinctly different from our conventional understanding of materials at the macro scale."

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/vumc-pfi091311.php