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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 18, 2011--------News Archive

Increasing Uterine Development Genes Improve IVF
Increasing certain developmental genes at precise times in the uterus might improve pregnancy rates from in vitro fertilization-embryo transfers (IVF-ET).

“Silent” Strokes in Children with Sickle Cell Anemia
Silent strokes are the most common form of neurological injury found in SCA, with more than 25 percent of children with the disorder suffering a SCI by age six and nearly 40 percent by age 14.

Mystery Atom In Enzyme Critical for Life
All life requires the element nitrogen from the atmosphere to form amino acids and build proteins. But how to single out the atom in the middle of the process?

November 17, 2011--------News Archive

Breast-Milk Stem Cells!
Embryonic-like stem cells have been isolated from breast milk in large numbers.

All Mammals Share Common Brain Organization
Animal studies show that the outer layer of the brain – the cortex – is organized by genes which exhibit highly similar regional patterns between species.

3 p.m. Slump? A Sugar Rush Is NOT The Answer
Protein, not sugar, stimulates cells to keep us thin and awake, new study suggests

November 16, 2011--------News Archive

Delayed Cord Clamping Protects Babe from Iron Loss
Waiting for at least three minutes before clamping the umbilical cord in healthy newborns improves their iron levels at four months.

Mom's Brain More Damaged by Alcohol than Dad's
After only four years of problem drinking, a significant decrease in the function of the serotonin system in women's brains can be seen.

Regenerative Medicine
Engineered, Blood Vessels Reverse Anemia in Mice
System combining gene therapy with tissue engineering could avoid the need for frequent injections of recombinant drugs.

November 15, 2011--------News Archive

Parkinson's Risk Great if Exposed Trichloroethylene
Symptoms of disease may appear 10 to 40 years following exposure.

Fetal Placental Stem Cells May Help Maternal Heart
Researchers have discovered the therapeutic benefit of fetal stem cells in helping the maternal heart recover after heart attack or other injury.

Pituitary-Like Tissue Grown From Mouse Stem Cells
Creating functional, three-dimensional tissue and organs from pluripotent embryonic stem cells (EScs) is one of the grand challenges of stem cell research.

November 14, 2011--------News Archive

Dyslexia Not Tied To Low IQ
Research on brain activity fails to support widely believed expectation that dyslexic students may have lower reading ability.

Intestinal E. coli Can Convert Sugar to Biodiesel Fuel
Biodiesel can be generated using E. coli as a catalyst, which will produce high volumes of the fuel with just a little tweaking of the bacteria's cell controls.

Cooked Food May Account For Human Big Brains
Harvard study finds an increase in energy from meat, suggesting cooking food was key to human evolution.

WHO Child Growth Charts

Next time you’re out to dinner, you may want to think twice before ordering your steak rare.

In a first-of-its-kind study, Harvard researchers have shown that cooked meat provides more energy than raw meat, a finding that challenges the current food labeling system and suggests humans are evolutionarily adapted to take advantage of the benefits of cooking.

Though earlier studies had examined how cooking affects specific aspects of the digestive process, surprisingly, none had examined whether cooking affected the overall energy value of meat, said Rachel Carmody, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Carmody published online ahead of print this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS Early Edition), the research bridges the fields of human evolution and modern human nutrition.

“Every day, humans in every global society devote time and energy to processing food — cooking it, grinding it, slicing it, pounding it — yet we don’t understand what effect these efforts have on the energy we extract from food, or the role they might have played in our evolution,” Carmody said. “It is astonishing, since energy gain is the primary reason we eat.”

Though earlier studies had examined how cooking affects specific aspects of the digestive process, surprisingly, Carmody said, none had examined whether cooking affected the overall energy value of meat. In addition, no study had compared the energetic effects of cooking with those of non-thermal processing methods like pounding, whether for meat or starch-rich foods.

“There had been no research that looked at the net effects — we had pieces that we could not integrate,” Carmody said. “We knew some of the mechanisms, but we didn’t know how they combined.”

To examine those effects, researchers designed a unique experiment. Over 40 days, they fed two groups of mice a series of diets that consisted of either meat or sweet potatoes prepared in four ways — raw and whole, raw and pounded, cooked and whole, and cooked and pounded.

Over the course of each diet, the researchers tracked changes in the body mass of the mice, controlling for how much they ate and ran on an exercise wheel. The results, Carmody said, clearly showed that cooked meat delivered more energy to the mice than raw meat. The same was true for sweet potatoes. In both foods, the energetic gains from cooking were greater than those from pounding, and cooking increased the energy gained from pre-pounded foods. Preference tests also revealed that hungry mice strongly preferred cooked foods, suggesting that the energetic benefits of a cooked diet were obvious to the subjects themselves.

It’s a finding, Carmody said, that holds exciting implications for our understanding of human evolution.

Though ancestral humans were eating meat as least 2.5 million years ago, without the ability to control fire, any meat in their diet was raw, though possibly pounded using primitive stone tools. Approximately 1.9 million years ago, however, a dramatic change began to occur. The bodies of early humans grew larger. Their brains increased in size and complexity. Adaptations for long-distance running appeared.

Earlier theories suggested these energetically costly changes were made possible by increased quantities of meat in the diet. However the results of the new research support another, albeit complementary, hypothesis — that cooking allowed humans to extract more energy from the foods they were already eating, both meat and widely available starch-rich tubers.

Richard Wrangham, the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology and master of Currier House, proposed that idea years ago, but the new study provides the first hard evidence to support it.

“I’m a biologist by training,” Wrangham said.

“If you want to understand the anatomical, physiological and behavioral features of a species, its diet is the first thing you ask about.

If you want to know what makes a giraffe tick, it’s the fact that it eats leaves from the tops of trees.

If you want to understand the shape of a flea, it’s because it eats blood.

But with humans, our adaptations have in general been seen as being the result of our ability to use our brains. Because that approach focuses on problem-solving it strays from the fundamental biological concept of species being adapted to a particular type of diet, and lures us into thinking that we have no particular kind of dietary adaptation.

“That’s why Rachel’s work is so important,” he continued. “For the first time, we have a clear answer to why cooking is so important cross-culturally and biologically — because it gives us increased energy. Life is all about energy.”

However, the impacts of the study, which Carmody co-authored with Wrangham and Gil Weintraub, then a Harvard undergraduate and now a medical student at UCLA, aren’t limited to the early days of human evolution. The findings also lay bare some shortcomings in the Atwater system, the calorie-measurement tool used to produce modern food labels.

“The system is based on principles that don’t reflect actual energy availability,” Carmody said. “First, the human gastrointestinal tract includes a whole host of bacteria, and those bacteria metabolize some of our food for their own benefit. Atwater doesn’t discriminate between food that is digested by the human versus the bacteria. Second, it doesn’t account for the energy spent digesting food, which can be substantial. In both cases, processing increases the energy accrued to the human. Such evidence suggests that food labels do not properly account for the effects of food processing.”

In this way, the new research could help inform how food scientists tackle two of the thorniest of dietary challenges — the prevalence of obesity in Western nations, and malnutrition in developing parts of the world.

“As human evolutionary biologists, we think about energetic gain as being something positive — it allows for growth, maintenance and reproduction, and it is therefore a critical component of a species’ evolutionary fitness,” Carmody said. “But the question in the modern world is: If we now have the problem of excess as opposed to deficit, is that still a positive?

“This work illuminates that the tools we currently use to understand caloric intake, both in cases of malnutrition and cases of obesity, are suboptimal. They’ve been based on the assumption that the human body is a perfectly efficient digestion machine, when, in fact, it’s not — but we now see that its efficiency is affected by food processing, particularly cooking.”

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Harvard Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study.

Original article: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/?p=95257&utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm
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