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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 Greater if Exposed to 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

Creating functional, three-dimensional tissue and organs from pluripotent cells such as embryonic stem cells (EScs) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPScs), is one of the grand challenges of stem cell research. It is also the fundamental goal of the emerging field of regenerative medicine.

Stem cell differentiation can be stimulated to follow a given path by culturing the cells in environments when embryogenesis normally occurs. Recent work has shown that when EScs are cultured under the appropriate conditions, they will self-organize into complex, three-dimensional tissue-like structures closely resembling their physiological counterparts.

Hidetaka Suga of the Division of Human Stem Cell Technology, and Yoshiki Sasai, Group Director of the Laboratory for Organogenesis and Neurogenesis, along with team members have steered mouse ESCs to give rise to tissue closely resembling the pituitary, in vitro.

Conducted in collaboration with Yutaka Oiso at the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, their work was published in the journal Nature.

The Sasai group has made these achievements in differentiation using an ES cell culture technique dubbed SFEBq (shorthand for "serum-free floating culture of embryoid body-like aggregates with quick re-aggregation").

In recent years, refinements of this approach have enabled the development of pluripotent stem cells, giving rise to multi-cell-type populations of cortical and retinal neurons that spontaneously self-organize into tissue nearly identical to that of the developing embryo, including the differentiation of dopaminergic, cerebral cortex, cerebellar Purkinje, and other neuronal cell types.

Suga then wanted to use SFEBq to derive the secretory component of the pituitary from mouse ES cells. In embryonic development, the pituitary emerges from a region of the non-neural (rostral) head ectoderm, adjacent to the anterior neural plate. This region forms an indentation, known as Rathke's pouch, in the predecessor of the roof of the mouth, and eventually gives rise to the anterior section of the pituitary, which is the source of hormones involved in growth, reproduction and modulating a physiological response to stress.

The Sasai lab had previously reported how a modified version of the SFEBq approach could spur ES cells to give rise to hypothalamic neurons. Building on his finding, Suga found by tweaking the conditions he could steer populations of stem cells to differentiate simultaneously into the neighboring rostral head ectoderm and hypothalamic neuroectoderm. To test whether co-culture of this ectoderm with hypothalamic tissue would lead to the formation of Rathke's pouch-like structures, Suga added the signaling factor Sonic hedgehog, and was able to induce formation of the vesicular tissue.

Previous research had also suggested that Notch signaling interferes with the development of ACTH (adenocorticotropic hormone)-secreting cells, so the group added a Notch blocker to the culture medium. Following a similar principle, they then adding Wnt, glucocorticoid and insulin to the culture at appropriate doses and stages, and obtained growth hormone-secreting cells in quantity. By varying the recipe of the growth factor cocktail, the researchers were able to induce other pituitary hormones as well. Critically, the group was able to show that in vitro hormone secretion would respond to requisite signals and engage in regulatory feedback just as found normally in the body.

In a final series of experiments, Suga's team transplanted ESC-derived ACTH-secreting tissue into the kidneys of adult mice whose own pituitary glands had been made disfunctional. Within a week of transplantation, these mice showed strong overall survival, a marked rise in ACTH levels and an increase in corticosterone (a glucocorticoid hormone stimulated by ACTH) over those of untransplanted control groups, which uniformly weakened and died within eight weeks of hypophysectomy.

Yoshiki Sasai, leader of the study, commented on this most recent demonstration of the remarkable self-organizing capabilities of embryonic stem cells in vitro. "We have previously shown how ES cells can give rise to self-organized, three-dimensional neuronal and sensory tissues, and in this report we describe for the first time how this principle can be used to generate to an endocrine tissue, suggesting our approach is of general applicability."

Suga, himself an endocrinologist, remarks, "We currently treat pituitary deficiencies by hormone replacement, but achieving the correct dosage is not a straightforward problem, given the naturally fluctuating levels secreted within the body. I am hopeful that this new finding will lead to further advances in regenerative medicine in the endocrine system."

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-11/r-spt111411.php