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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
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
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--------News Archive

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

These latest findings challenge the recent policy statement of The American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests that low doses of glucocorticoids — a class of steroid hormones used in premature babies to support lung maturation, the normalization of blood pressure and breathing — can continue to be used in premies. In their 2010 statement, the Academy recommended that high-dose dexamethasone not be given to babies after birth, but stated that the evidence was insufficient to make a recommendation regarding other doses of glucocorticoids.

In the current study, published in the Oct. 19, 2011, issue of Science Translational Medicine, the researchers found that betamethasone given to mothers in premature labor was not associated with adverse affects on the baby’s brain growth. However, they found that premature babies given hydrocortisone or dexamethasone in a low-dose range after birth had, on average, 10 percent smaller cerebellar volumes by the time they were full term.

“This study provides new evidence that these drugs, even at low doses, are associated with impaired cerebellar development when given to babies after birth,” said Emily Tam, MD, a child neurologist in the Neurological Intensive Care Nursery at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and lead author of the study.

The long-term impacts on cognitive and motor development will need to be assessed through neurological examinations and developmental testing when the children are at school age, she said. However, previous studies have shown that smaller cerebellar volumes in children born prematurely are associated with significant motor and cognitive impairments by teenage years.

Babies born prematurely may be treated with glucocorticoids for a number of reasons. Betamethasone is often given to mothers in preterm labor to accelerate the baby’s lung maturation, and either hydrocortisone or dexamethasone may be given to premature newborns after birth to help with maintaining a normal blood pressure or to shorten the period of time they need help with breathing using a breathing tube.

Research in animals has suggested that exposure to glucocorticoids can impair the development of the cerebellum, said Tam. To determine if these effects also occur in humans, a study of 172 premature babies was conducted at two centers — the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and the BC Children’s Hospital and Child and Family Research Institute at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Eighty-five percent of the babies had been given betamethasone before birth, and 20 percent of the babies had received either hydrocortisone or dexamethasone after birth.

The study focused on babies born between 2006 and 2009 who had undergone magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of their brains. One group was part of a longitudinal UCSF study started in 1998 by A James Barkovich, MD, Chief of Neuroradiology and Special Procedures at UCSF. Another was part of a study initiated by Steven Miller, MD, Senior Clinician Scientist at the Child and Family Research Institute.

Using advanced analysis techniques from the MRI studies, Tam’s team measured the volume of the brains, and specifically the cerebellum. While there were no negative associations with betamethasone given to mothers in premature labor, babies given either hydrocortisone or dexamethasone after birth had 10 percent smaller cerebellar volumes by the time they’d reached full term.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have good alternative treatments at this time. Low blood pressure and breathing difficulties are big problems for premature babies, with serious long-term consequences of their own for the baby’s development,” said Tam. “With this new information, when weighing the risks and benefits of giving glucocorticoids to premature babies, doctors should keep in mind the potential negative effects on brain development, and when possible, consider other treatment options first.”

Findings of the study, “Preterm Cerebellar Growth Impairment After Postnatal Exposure to Glucocorticoids,” appear online in Science Translational Medicine.

The study was co-authored by Donna Ferriero, MD, A. James Barkovich, MD and David Glidden, PhD all of UCSF, Vann Chau, MD, Kenneth Poskitt,MD, Ruth Grunau, PhD and Steven Miller, MD all of the University of British Columbia, Colin Studholme, PhD of the University of Washington and Eric Fok, MS, of the Tufts University.

The research was funded by the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).

Original article: http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2011/10/10805/pre-term-babies-exposure-steroids-associated-impaired-brain-growth