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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 one million visitors each month.

Today, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than 1 million visitors each month. The field of early embryology has grown to include the identification of the stem cell as not only critical to organogenesis in the embryo, but equally critical to organ function and repair in the adult human. The identification and understanding of genetic malfunction, inflammatory responses, and the progression in chronic disease, begins with a grounding in primary cellular and systemic functions manifested in the study of the early embryo.

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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal 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 HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
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Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts |News Archive Sept 30, 2014

More study is needed to determine if additional green space provides more social opportunity
and improves a person’s sense of community, or if it reduces stress and depression.

 






WHO Child Growth Charts

 

 

 

Green neighborhood means better birth weights

Mothers who live in neighborhoods with plenty of grass, trees or other green vegetation are more likely to deliver at full term and their babies are born at higher weights, compared to mothers who live in urban areas that aren’t as green, a new study shows.

These findings held up even when results were adjusted for income, exposure to air pollution, noise, and neighborhood walkability, according to research at Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia.


“This was a surprise. We expected the association between greenness and birth outcomes to disappear once we accounted for other environmental exposures such as air pollution and noise. The research really suggests that greenness affects birth outcomes in other ways, such as psychologically or socially.”

Perry Hystad, environmental epidemiologist, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State and lead author of the study.


Researchers aren’t sure yet where the link between greenness and birth outcome is. More study is needed to determine if additional green space provides more social opportunities and enhances a person’s sense of belonging in the community, or if it has a psychological effect, reducing stress and depression, Perry Hystad added.

In a study of more than 64,000 births, researchers found that very pre-term births were 20 percent lower and moderate pre-term births were 13 percent lower for infants whose mothers lived in greener neighborhoods.


The study also found that fewer infants from greener neighborhoods were considered small for their gestational age. Babies from the greener neighborhoods weighed 45 grams more at birth than infants from less green neighborhoods added Hystad.


The study establishes an important link between residential “greenness” and birth outcomes that could have significant implications for public health, said Hystad, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health.

Hystad: “From a medical standpoint, those are small changes in birth weight, but across a large population, those are substantial differences that would have a significant impact on the health of infants in a community.”

Babies born early or underweight often have more health and developmental problems, not just at birth but also as they continue to grow up, and the cost to care for pre-term and underweight infants also can be much higher, Hystad said.

Results of the study were published recently in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study is also part of a growing body of work that indicates green space has a positive influence on health, Hystad said. Researchers examined more than 64,000 births in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area between 1999 and 2002, for individual environmental factors such as exposure to green space that might affect birth outcomes.

Since half the world’s population lives in urban areas, it’s important to understand how different aspects of the built environment – the buildings, parks and other human-made space we live in – might affect health, researchers said.


“We know a lot about the negative influences such as living closer to major roads, but demonstrating that a design choice can have benefits is really uplifting. With the high cost of healthcare, modifying urban design features such as increasing green space may turn out to be extremely cost-effective strategies to prevent disease, while at the same time also providing ecological benefits.”

Michael Brauer, University of British Columbia


It’s unclear how much or what type of green space is of most benefit to developing infants, but researchers do know that adding a planter to the patio or a tree to the sidewalk median probably won’t make a significant difference in birth outcomes.

“Planting one tree likely won’t help,” Hystad said. “You don’t really see the beneficial effects of green space until you reach a certain threshold of greenness in a neighborhood.”

One of the next steps for researchers is to better understand what that threshold is and why it makes a difference.

“We know green space is good. How do we maximize that benefit to improve health outcomes?” Hystad said. “The answer could have significant implications for land use planning and development.”

Abstract
Background: Half the world’s population lives in urban areas. It is therefore important to identify characteristics of the built environment that are beneficial to human health. Urban greenness has been associated with improvements in a diverse range of health conditions, including birth outcomes; however, few studies have attempted to distinguish potential effects of greenness from those of other spatially correlated exposures related to the built environment.

Methods: We examined associations between residential greenness (measured using satellite-derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) within 100 meters of study participants’ homes) and birth outcomes in a cohort of 64,705 singleton births (from 1999–2002) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We also evaluated associations after adjusting for spatially correlated built environmental factors that may influence birth outcomes, including exposure to air pollution and noise, neighborhood walkability, and distance to the nearest park.

Results: An interquartile increase in greenness [0.1 in residential NDVI] was associated with higher term birth weight (20.6 grams; 95% CI: 16.5, 24.7) and decreases in the likelihood of small for gestational age, very preterm (<30 weeks), and moderately preterm (30-36 weeks) birth. Associations were robust to adjustment for air pollution and noise exposures, neighborhood walkability, and park proximity.

Conclusions: Increased residential greenness was associated with beneficial birth outcomes in this population-based cohort. These associations did not change after adjusting for other spatially correlated built environment factors, suggesting that alternative pathways (e.g. psychosocial and psychological mechanisms) may underlie associations between residential greenness and birth outcomes.

Co-authors: Hugh W. Davies, Lawrence Frank, Josh Van Loon, Lillian Tamburic and Michael Brauer of the University of British Columbia; and Ulrike Gehring of Utrecht University in The Netherlands. The research was supported by a grant from Health Canada.

About the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences: The College creates connections in teaching, research and community outreach while advancing knowledge, policies and practices that improve population health in communities across Oregon and beyond.

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