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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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April 29, 2011--------News Archive

Catching Autism At The 1-year Well-Baby Check-Up
A novel strategy developed by autism researchers at the University of California, San Diego, shows promise as a simple way to detect cases of Autism Syndrome.

A New Wrinkle In The Genetic Code
Long ago a mouse was created that is just now teaching us that mutations in the proteins produced from ribosomes can lead to unexpected birth defects.


April 28, 2011--------News Archive

Tired Neurons Nod Off in Sleep-Deprived Rats
The more rats are sleep-deprived, the more neurons take catnaps. Though the animals are awake and active, neurons in the cortex, are briefly falling asleep.

Obese Adolescents Lacking Vitamin D
Vitamin D status is significantly associated with muscle power/force; a deficiency may interfere with the obese adolescent's ability to increase physical activity.


April 27, 2011--------News Archive

Men and Women Respond Differently to PTSD
Men and women had starkly different immune system responses to chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. Men show no response, women show a strong one.

Motor Protein May Offer Promise In Ovarian Cancer
A regulatory motor protein can block ovarian tumor growth, leading to cancer cell death and new therapies to treat the disease.


April 26, 2011--------News Archive

Protein Levels Could Signal Childhood Diabetes
Decreasing blood levels of a protein that helps control inflammation may be a red flag that could help children avoid type 1 diabetes.

Best Treatment For Gestational Tumors
A clinical trial has sifted out the most effective chemotherapy regimen for quick-growing but highly curable cancers arising from the placentas of pregnant women.


April 25, 2011--------News Archive

Frog Embryos Teach Us About Heart Development
Thanks to new research at the University of Pennsylvania, there is new insight into the processes that regulate the formation of the heart.

Brain Cells Offer Insight on How Cancer Spreads
The mechanism regulating embryonic development in plants displays similarities to a signalling pathway in embryonic stem cells in mammals.

WHO Child Growth Charts

Brain structures involved in fear and stress

Men and women have different immune system responses to chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, in two studies by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.

While a robust immune response protects the body from foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, an over-activated response causes inflammation, which can lead to such conditions as cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

In a study published in the March, 2011 issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the authors took blood samples from 49 men (24 with PTSD and 25 controls) and 18 women (10 with PTSD and 8 controls). They then used gene microarray technology to determine which genes were activated in the subjects’ monocytes, which are immune cells that regularly cross the barrier between the bloodstream and the brain, and thus give a broad picture of immune reaction in both the body and brain.

“We were looking for evidence of inflammation caused by immune activation,” explained lead author Thomas Neylan, MD, director of the PTSD program at SFVAMC and a professor in residence of psychiatry at UCSF. “We know that people with PTSD have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, which are diseases associated chronic inflammation. We also hoped that seeing which genes were expressed in PTSD might show us potential therapeutic approaches that we hadn’t thought of.”

The researchers found no evidence of increased immune activation among the men with PTSD compared to those without PTSD. In contrast, the women with PTSD showed significant evidence of immune activation compared to women without PTSD.

“Previous gene microarray studies on PTSD grouped men and women together, which gave inconclusive results,” said senior investigator Lynn Pulliam, MS, PhD, chief of microbiology at SFVAMC and professor of laboratory medicine and medicine at UCSF. “This is the first time that it’s been shown that men and women respond differently to PTSD on a very basic biological level.”

Neylan characterized the finding as “unexpected.”

The researchers do not know why there seems to be such a marked difference between men and women, said Neylan. However, in a study published in the January, 2011 issue (posted in April, 2011) of the journal Disease Markers, they analyzed data collected from the same subjects to explore one possible explanation: gender differences in cell signaling pathways.

“We know that gene expression patterns are determined by hormones and proteins that are circulating in the body, and we know that some of those hormones and proteins are produced in response to signals from the brain or central nervous system,” explained lead author Aoife O’Donovan, PhD, a researcher in psychiatry at SFVAMC and UCSF. “These signaling pathways are used by the brain and central nervous system to communicate with the immune system and tell immune cells what to do.”

The researchers used sophisticated bioinformatics software to look at three different signaling pathways associated with inflammation: NF-kappa B, glucocorticoid receptor (GR), and CREB/ATF.

In the NF-kappa B and GR pathways in both men and women with PTSD, they found evidence of signaling that could promote inflammation.

In the CREB/ATF pathway, however, they found what O’Donovan called “totally contrasting” effects: men with PTSD had increased signaling, which in turn could possibly lead to less inflammation, while women with PTSD had decreased signaling, which could lead to more inflammation.

“This particular pathway might be a clue to the gender difference in monocyte gene expression in PTSD,” said Pulliam.

“It’s still very early,” cautioned O’Donovan, “but these bioinformatics results are telling us something about how PTSD could increase the risk for autoimmune disorders like arthritis as well as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other diseases of aging. They also point us in the direction of some potential treatment targets, telling us where future investigative energy might be well spent.”

Neylan emphasized that because of the small sample size, particularly among the women, the results of the two studies are suggestive rather than conclusive. “The next step is to look at larger groups of men and women, and we are working on that,” he said.

Co-authors of the Brain, Behavior, and Immunity study are Bing Sun, MD, PhD, and Hans Rempel, PhD, of SFVAMC; Jessica Ross, MD, MS, of SFVAMC and UCSF; and Maryann Lenoci, MA, of SFVAMC.

Co-authors of the Disease Markers study are Bing Sun, MD, PhD; Steve Cole, PhD, of UCLA; Hans Rempel, PhD; and Maryann Lenoci, MA.

Both studies were supported by grants from the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs Sierra Pacific Mental Illness Research & Education Clinical Center. Some of the funds were administered by the Northern California Institute for Research and Education.

NCIRE - The Veterans Health Research Institute - is the largest research institute associated with a VA medical center. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of veterans and the general public by supporting a world-class biomedical research program conducted by the UCSF faculty at SFVAMC.

SFVAMC has the largest medical research program in the national VA system, with more than 200 research scientists, all of whom are faculty members at UCSF.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Original article: http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2011/04/9790/mens-and-womens-immune-systems-respond-differently-ptsd