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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 SemestersFemale Reproductive SystemFertilizationThe Appearance of SomitesFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFetal 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 HemispheresEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterDevelopmental Timeline
Click weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
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November 4, 2011--------News Archive

Identifying Brain Cells That Keep Us Awake
Researchers at UCLA have identified the group of neurons that mediates whether light arouses us — or not.

TBL1X Gene Involved In Autism Spectrum Disorder
An X-chromosome-wide association study in autism families identifies TBL1X as a novel autism spectrum disorder candidate gene in males.

“Love Hormone” Helps Direct Development of Brain
Hormones released from nerves regulate a series of vital body processes, including the balance of fluids and uterine contractions in childbirth.

November 3, 2011--------News Archive

Steroids in Preemies Impair Brain Growth
Premature infants given drugs to support lung maturation and normalize blood pressure, are at increased risk for having impaired growth of the cerebellum.

Potential Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease
Increasing the expression of proteins TR2/TR4 can lead to higher fetal hemoglobin levels in sickle cell patients.

New Drug Shows Promise Against Multiple Sclerosis
A new drug targets a molecule - CD20 found on the surface of B cells and B cells seem to induce the immune system T cells to attack.

November 2, 2011--------News Archive

Babies Understand Each Other at Ten Months Old
At 10 months, babies start to understand another person’s thought process, providing new insights on how communication develops.

Bacteria Swap Genes Between Species Readily
Microbes have developed a quick and effective way to exchange genetic information from animals to humans.

Pinpointing Cause of Unexplained Miscarriage
The same kind of blood-clotting in coronary arteries or blood vessels in the brain which causes heart attacks and strokes also happens in the placenta.

November 1, 2011--------News Archive

Pregnant Mothers At Risk From Air Pollution
A Californian-based study has looked in detail at air quality and the impact of traffic-related air pollution on premature birth.

Linking A Spectrum of Childhood Diseases
An international collaboration of scientists has identified a genetic mutation causing a rare childhood disease characterized by inflammation and fat loss.

Placenta and Uterus Battle Becomes Preeclampsia
A battle brews in the mother’s womb between the father’s biological goal to produce the biggest, healthiest baby possible vs. the mother’s need to live through delivery.

October 31, 2011

Fetal Heart Rate Not a Good Indicator for Health
Maternal-fetal medicine specialists at Intermountain Medical Center seek better 'road map' to improve deliveries, healthier babies.

Swedish Discover Bisphenol-A Affects Newborn Brain
An observed effect induced in neonatal baby mice after exposure to Bisphenol A, persisted into adulthood.

Not Your Mother's Birth Control
Today's hormonal forms of birth control are vastly different from those used by earlier generations of women, both with lower levels of hormones and with different means of delivery (not just a pill), but many of the same problems related to women's pleasure remain.

WHO Child Growth Charts


Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have identified a potential new cause for unexplained miscarriages in mice.

They also identified two possible treatments to prevent these miscarriages and their work has broader implications for the development of new drugs to treat heart attacks and strokes.

The researchers, led by Dr. Heyu Ni, found that the same kind of blood-clotting in coronary arteries or blood vessels in the brain that causes heart attacks and strokes also happens in the placenta. The massive clotting can destroy the placenta, block blood flow to the fetus and cause miscarriages.

This condition is known as fetal and neonatal immune thrombocytopenia (FNIT), a bleeding disorder in which mothers generate antibodies that attack and destroy platelets in their fetuses and newborns. Platelets are the small cells in the blood that play a key role in clotting. In severe cases, FNIT may lead to bleeding in the brains of the fetuses and newborns and cause neurological impairment or even death.

The condition affects between one in 800 and one in 1,500 live births and is more commonly reported among Caucasians.

Maternal antibodies to one specific platelet antigen, HPA-1 (human platelet antigen) cause 75-95 per cent of FNIT cases. Antigens are the proteins that antibodies attack because they think they are a foreign substance such as bacteria or a virus.

Dr. Ni and his team discovered a novel mechanism that might partially explain this problem. They found that another antigen, HPA-2, causes a type of FNIT never described before that can lead to miscarriages in more than 83 per cent of mice. There have been only six to eight reported live births in the world of humans with FNIT caused by HPA-2. The new research suggests the reason these cases appear to be so rare is that most of the affected fetuses died through miscarriages, before doctors examined them.

Dr. Conglei Li and other researchers in Dr. Ni's laboratory found that sometimes these antibodies not only destroy platelets, but activate them and cause massive clotting in the placentas.

Dr. Ni, an immunologist, is also a scientist with Canadian Blood Services (CBS), one of the funders of this research. His findings appear in the November issue of the prestigious Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Ni's group demonstrated that, in mice, these miscarriages can be prevented using at least two therapies. One is the transfusion of IgG (IVIG), a CBS product made from plasma from donated blood, which has been widely used to treat several autoimmune diseases. The other is the transfusion of an antibody known as anti-FcRn, which blocks the attacking maternal antibodies from crossing the placenta. This second method was developed by Dr. Ni's group.

"Fifty per cent of pregnancies do not end in a live birth. Our findings may help explain why some women are having miscarriages," said Dr. Ni. "Furthermore, our treatments could be the answer to carrying a healthy child to term."

The observations by Dr. Ni's team of platelet activation and enhancement of clotting may be important in the development of safer anti-thrombotic drugs. These drugs are under development by several companies.

Dr. Ni's group is now collaborating with clinicians to address how relevant these discoveries in mice are in humans.

St. Michael's Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital's recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Center, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/smh-rpp110111.php