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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. 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.

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!




Pregnancy Timeline

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Disclaimer: The Visible Embryo web site is provided for your general information only. The information contained on this site should not be treated as a substitute for medical, legal or other professional advice. Neither is The Visible Embryo responsible or liable for the contents of any websites of third parties which are listed on this site.
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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

Google Search artcles published since 2007

Home | Pregnancy Timeline | News Alerts |News Archive Jul 13, 2015 

Mother's blood suppy is the lower, darker green layer of the uterine wall
The mid-point — decidua-myometrium boundary — is where the placenta begins.
Top layer is where trophoblast cells build the placenta.
Diagram art adapted from Nature Reviews, Immunology




'Avandia' to be clinically tested for preeclampsia

Rosiglitazone, a drug sold as Avandia for diabetic use, has been found to stimulate the placenta and halt severe preeclampsia — high blood pressure — during pregnancy.

Sascha Drewlo PhD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, has received a $1.25 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, to study rosiglitazone - sold as the diabetic medication Avandia - to improve placental function. His research will explore rosiglitazone's effectiveness in stimulating a placental halt to severe preeclampsia.

Sascha Drewlo PhD, is exploring a novel signaling pathway within the placenta that, when treated with rosiglitazone, can restore normal vascular function, preventing preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy, and is the leading cause of fetal and maternal death worldwide. Women not killed by preeclampsia can suffer lifelong health problems from the condition. Indicated by a sudden increase in blood pressure along with a protein spike in a mother's urine. Preeclampsia can include headaches, swelling in the face and hands, blurred vision, chest pain, and shortness of breath. While the condition can become serious to mother and infant within a few hours, some women report few — if any symptoms.

The condition is responsible for 76,000 maternal deaths and more than 500,000 infant deaths annually, according to estimates from the Preeclampsia Foundation. The condition occurs only during pregnancy. Some mothers develop seizures (eclampsia) and suffer intracranial hemorrhage, the main cause of death in those who develop the disorder. The babies of preeclamptic mothers may develop intrauterine growth restriction or die in utero. According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, the condition, also known as toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension, affects 5 to 8 percent of pregnancies. About 13 percent of all maternal deaths worldwide - every 12 minutes - have been attributed to eclampsia. Preeclampsia is responsible for nearly 18 percent of all maternal deaths in the United States.

Severe preeclampsia, Drewlo explained, is believed to stem from the placenta as the only known "cure" for the condition is delivering the baby even when not mature enough for survival. In severe cases, early preterm birth carries a host of long-term complications for the infant.

At the molecular level, Drewlo knew that PPAR-γ is a protein which regulates fatty acid storage, glucose metabolism, and controls specific glial cells which are missing GCM-1 — a protein affecting the formation of blood vessels in embryos. And he knew that disruption of GCM-1 can result in preeclampsia. Drewlo's research in mice found that PPAR-γ can be stimulated by the drug rosiglitazone to reduce preeclampsia-like symptoms. But if inhibited, PPAR-γ induces preeclampsia. In diabetic patients, rosiglitazone binds PPAR-γ receptors in fat cells, making them more responsive to insulin.

"We hypothesized that human trophoblast differentiation is regulated by the axis between PPARγ and GCM1, which can be pharmacologically activated to improve placental and maternal endothelial function. The ultimate goal of the proposed research is to improve pregnancy outcomes by restoring placental and maternal vascular function in severe preeclampsia."

Sascha Drewlo PhD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Drewlo adds that in pregnancy, PPAR-γ oversees the release of factors that inhibit the growth of new blood vessels through a GCM-1-pathway. Preliminary studies in human placental cells within a laboratory setting, suggest that PPAR-γ directly controls trophoblast differentiation through regulation of GCM-1. PPAR-γ activation with rosiglitazone significantly decreases blood vessel growth inhibitors.

Even if treated successfully, preeclampsia can bring future health problems. Women who have had preeclampsia have double the risk for heart disease and stroke over the next five to 15 years after treatment. Even causing blindness in some.

About Wayne State University
Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://research.wayne.edu.

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