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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


(CTRL) Normal control lung blood vessel and heart as compared with:
(PH) Right ventricle affected by pulmonary hypertension

(RVF) Advanced disease stage of right ventricle failure
(E2) Disease reversal with estrogen treatment
(E2-W) Continued benefit even after estrogen treatment withdrawal
Credit: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine/UCLA


UCLA researchers have found that the hormone estrogen may help reverse advanced pulmonary hypertension, a rare and serious condition that affects 2 to 3 million individuals in the U.S., mostly women, and can lead to heart failure.

The condition causes a progressive increase in blood pressure in the main pulmonary artery, which originates in the heart's right ventricle and delivers blood to the lungs. The rise in pressure impairs heart function by enlarging the right ventricle, potentially leading to heart failure.

Published in the Sept. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the preclinical study shows that in rats, estrogen treatment can reverse the progression of pulmonary hypertension to heart failure and can restore lung and ventricle structure and function.

The disease progresses slowly, so most patients don't seek treatment until major symptoms occur, such as shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting. According to researchers, current medication for pulmonary hypertension only temporarily reduces the disease's severity.

For advanced pulmonary hypertension, there are fewer options, and the condition often necessitates a lung transplant.

"Unfortunately, up until now, there hasn't been an ideal pharmacological therapy to treat advanced pulmonary hypertension," said senior study author Mansoureh Eghbali, Ph.D., an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA who has a strong background in studying the role of gender and estrogen in cardiovascular diseases. "We hope that this early study may offer insight into new therapies."

The UCLA team found that by treating rats with severe pulmonary hypertension with low doses of estrogen, they were able to prevent the disease from progressing to right-ventricular heart failure; this did not happen in untreated rats.

Systolic blood pressure and ejection fraction — the volume of blood being pumped out of the heart's right chamber with each heart beat — also improved. Tests showed that lung weight, which can increase with the disease and resulting heart-ventricle enlargement, was also corrected. After 10 days of estrogen treatment, function returned to an almost normal state.

The researchers stopped the estrogen therapy after 10 days but continued to observe some of the treated rats. They tracked the continued improvement and found almost full restoration of systolic blood pressure and ejection fraction to normal levels after an additional 12 days.

"We were surprised to find this continued benefit, even after we stopped the estrogen treatment," said the study's first author, Dr. Soban Umar, a UCLA Department of Anesthesiology researcher who has studied pulmonary hypertension and right-ventricular heart failure and is a key member of Eghbali's laboratory team. "These findings suggest that even short-term estrogen therapy may suffice to reverse the disease."

All rats with severe pulmonary hypertension that were treated with estrogen survived by the study's end. Only 25 percent of the untreated rats survived.

The team also explored how estrogen could work in reversing the disease by studying several cellular and molecular mechanisms.

They found that the number of inflammatory cells in rats with pulmonary hypertension increased five-fold, compared with normal rats. In the animals treated with estrogen, this was reversed to normal. The team found that estrogen reduced regulation of a pro-inflammatory gene that also plays a key role in disease development caused by pulmonary hypertension. They also found that estrogen had an inhibitory effect on lung fibrosis.

In addition, the team observed that estrogen therapy restored blood vessels in the lungs and right ventricle whose loss is associated with the disease.

Further study identified that estrogen exerts its biological effects on pulmonary hypertension through a receptor called estrogen receptor beta, a protein that regulates estrogen's activity in the body.

"Estrogen appears to work through an interplay of several factors, including suppression of lung inflammation and fibrosis, as well as reversal of ventricle enlargement," Eghbali said. "We may be able to utilize estrogen receptor beta in the development of future therapies to stimulate estrogen activity to treat pulmonary hypertension."

Researchers had also tested estrogen receptor alpha, the other receptor that controls estrogen activity, but found that it wasn't as effective in treating pulmonary hypertension.

Eghbali added that estrogen receptor beta may prove to be a favorable therapeutic target, since this receptor may require only a short treatment duration and low dosage and has less pro-estrogenic effects on the breasts and uterus than estrogen receptor alpha.

Pulmonary hypertension affects mostly younger women, despite the fact that females in this age group should be under the protective benefits of natural estrogen produced by the body, Eghbali said.

"These patients may have a genetic mutation that is interfering in how estrogen receptor beta directs estrogen activity that is leading to pulmonary hypertension," she said.

Her team's next step is to explore these genetic questions. Currently, Umar and Eghbali are collaborating with UCLA pulmonary hypertension physicians to investigate gender-related issues and to define the role of estrogen in patients with this deadly disease.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Additional authors included Andrea Lorga, Humann Matori, Rangarajan Nadadur, Jingyuan Li and Federica Maltese of the department of anesthesiology in the division of molecular medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine, and Arnoud van der Laarse of the department of cardiology at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/uoc--etm091511.php