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

Women at Low Risk Can Safely Choose Birth Style
Women with low risk pregnancies should be able to choose where they give birth, concludes The Birthplace in England national prospective cohort study.

Finger (Mal)formation Function of Desert DNA
Explaining the diversity of leg shapes in the animal kingdom and hereditary defects in finger formation.

Key Molecular Switch for Telomere Extension Found
For the first time, a key target for DNA damage is found that must be chemically modified to enable an enzyme thought to play a key role in cancer and aging.

New Role for Gene in Maintaining Steady Weight
Findings may help combat obesity and diabetes.

November 24, 2011--------News Archive

New Facts About Stuttering
Some forms of persistent stuttering are caused by mutations in a gene governing the recycling of old cell parts - not speech.

Preventing Preemie Brain Injury
New advances could eventually help reduce the number of premature babies who develop cerebral palsy, epilepsy or behavioral disorders such as ADHD.

Short Stature May Be Due To a 'Shortage' of Genes
Research suggests that uncommon genetic deletions are associated with short stature.

November 23, 2011--------News Archive

Intestinal Disorder, Preemies and AB Blood Type
Preemies with the AB blood type who develop NEC are nearly three times as likely to die from it as preemies with other blood types.

Babies Fed Fish Before 9 Months Wheeze Less
But pre-natal pain and fever antibiotics taken by mom in pregnancy, or by the baby in the first-week of life, increase risk of "pre-school wheeze."

Physical Activity Improves Quality Of Sleep
People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, a new study concludes.

November 22, 2011--------News Archive

Critical Molecules For Hearing/Balance Discovered
Gene-therapy trial will attempt to restore hearing in deaf mice.

Tweaking One Gene Makes Muscles Twice As Strong
Salk scientists and their collaborators find new avenue for treating muscle degeneration in people who can't exercise.

Fruit Fly Intestine Holds Secret to Fountain of Youth
Long-lived fruit flies offer Salk scientists clues to slowing human aging and fighting disease.

November 21, 2011--------News Archive

Nerve Cells Key to making Sense of All of Our Senses
Scientists have unraveled how the brain manages to process complex, rapidly changing, and often conflicting sensory signals and make sense of our world.

Discovery of A New Muscle Repair Gene
Thanks to next-generation DNA sequencing, an international team of scientists have discovered more about the function of muscle stem cells.

Immune System Governs Stem Cell Regeneration
Controlling a stem cell transplant recipient’s immune response may be major key to successful bone regeneration.

WHO Child Growth Charts

In young fruit flies (left), intestinal tissues are highly organized with an even distribution of different cell types, each represented by a different color. As flies age (right), this order breaks down as stem cell activity becomes unregulated along with the ability to form cells with specialized functions. By activating the PGC-1 gene, researchers delayed this aging process, simultaneously extending lifespan. Image: Courtesy of Salk Institute for Biological Studies

One of the few reliable ways to extend an organism's lifespan, be it a fruit fly or a mouse, is to restrict calorie intake. Now, a new study in fruit flies is helping to explain why such minimal diets are linked to longevity and offering clues to the effects of aging on stem cell behavior.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and their collaborators found that tweaking a gene known as PGC-1, which is also found in human DNA, in the intestinal stem cells of fruit flies delayed the aging of their intestine and extended their lifespan by as much as 50 percent.

"Fruit flies and humans have a lot more in common than most people think," says Leanne Jones, an associate professor in Salk's Laboratory of Genetics and a lead scientist on the project. "There is a tremendous amount of similarity between a human small intestine and the fruit fly intestine."

The findings of the study, which was a collaboration between researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, Los Angeles, were published online in Cell Metabolism.

Scientists have long known that calorie restriction, the practice of limiting daily food intake, can extend the healthy lifespan of a range of animals. In some studies, animals on restricted diets lived more than twice as long on average as those on non-restricted diets.

While little is known about the biological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, studies have shown that the cells of calorie-restricted animals have greater numbers of energy-generating structures known as mitochondria. In mammals and flies, the PGC-1 gene regulates the number of these cellular power plants, which convert sugars and fats from food into the energy for cellular functions.

This chain of connections between the mitochondria and longevity inspired Jones and her colleague to investigate what happens when the PGC-1 gene is forced into overdrive.

To do this, they used genetic engineering techniques to boost the activity of the fruit fly equivalent of the PGC-1 gene. The flies (known as Drosophila melanogaster) have a short lifespan, allowing the scientists to study aging and longevity in ways that aren't as feasible in longer-lived organisms such as mice or human.

The researchers found that boosting the activity of dPGC-1, the fruit fly version of the gene, resulted in greater numbers of mitochondria and more energy-production in flies - the same phenomenon seen in organisms on calorie restricted diets. When the activity of the gene was accelerated in stem and progenitor cells of the intestine, which serve to replenish intestinal tissues, these cellular changes correspond with better health and longer lifespan. The flies lived between 20 and 50 percent longer, depending on the method and extent to which the activity of the gene was altered.

"Their intestines were beautiful," says Christopher L. Koehler, a doctoral-student at University of California San Diego who conducts research in Jones' laboratory. "The flies with the modified gene activity were much more active and robust than the other flies."

Part of the reason for this might be that boosting the fruit fly version of PGC-1 stimulates the stem cells that replenish the intestinal tissues, keeping the flies' intestines healthier. The findings suggest that the fruit fly version of PGC-1 can act as a biological dial for slowing the aging process and might serve as a target for drugs or other therapies to put the breaks on aging and age-related diseases.

"Slowing the aging of a single, important organ - in this case the intestine - could have a dramatic effect on overall health and longevity," Jones says. "In a disease that affects multiple tissues, for instance, you might focus on keeping one organ healthy, and to do that you might be able to utilize PGC-1."

The Salk researchers were supported by the Emerald Foundation, the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the world's preeminent basic research institutions, where internationally renowned faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused both on discovery and on mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer's, diabetes and infectious diseases by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.

Publication: Cell Metabolism
Authors: Michael Rera, Sepehr Bahadorani, Jaehyoung Cho, Christopher L. Koehler, Matthew Ulgherait, Jae H. Hur, William S. Ansari, Thomas Lo Jr., D. Leanne Jones, David W. Walker
Modulation of Longevity and Tissue Homeostasis by the Drosophila PGC-1 Homolog

Original article: http://www.salk.edu/news/pressrelease_details.php?press_id=528