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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
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
December 9, 2011--------News Archive

Steroid Increases Life Expectancy for Preemies
Giving antenatal corticosteroids to moms expecting preterm infants - between 22 and 25 weeks gestation - reduces infant death and long-term impairment.

A New Understanding of How Our Lungs Grow
New research challenges the medical textbooks and declares that the tiny airsacs continue to increase in number as we grow to adulthood.

Early Pregnancy Stress, Pre-Term Birth, Fewer Boys
Stress in the second and third months of pregnancy can shorten pregnancies, increase the risk of pre-term births and lead to a decline in male babies.

December 8, 2011--------News Archive

Mother's Touch Protects Child Against Drug Cravings
Attentive, nurturing mothering may help her children better resist the temptations of drug use later in life.

Flu Vaccine Protects Pregnant Mom and New-Borns
The influenza shot boosts the immune response in pregnant women and protects neuronatal babies via antibodies transferred through the placenta.

Tadpoles Made to Grow Eyes on Back and Tail
Changing the voltage in embryonic frog cell of tadpole's back causes cell to develop into a functioning eye.

December 7, 2011--------News Archive

Baby See, Baby Do?
Study shows infants take cues from trusted sources only, and ignore unreliable faces.

Bitter Taste of Broccoli Not Just About Flavor
Broccoli’s taste is not just a matter of having a cultured palate; some people actually taste a bitter compound in the vegetable that others cannot.

Game Players Advance Genetic Research
Users of the game Phylo, designed by McGill University researchers, are contributing to analysis of DNA sequences in Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer.

December 6, 2011--------News Archive

One Quarter of Families Begin Before 24 Years Old
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, looked at the different paths to family formation. Results looks at the experiences of young adults through age 25.

Orphans Undergo Biological Change to Their Genome
Changes can be seen in the genetic regulation of the immune system, including a number of important mechanisms in the development and function of the brain.

Child Abuse Changes the Brain
Brain imaging reveals the same pattern of brain activity in these children as seen in soldiers in war.

December 5, 2011--------News Archive

Defect in Brain May Cause Autism-Like Syndrome
Autism in Timothy Syndrome has been found to produce fewer cells connecting both halves of the brain, and overproduce dopamine and norepinephrine.

Flipping Off the Switch that Causes Aging
For the first time, Harvard scientists have partially reversed age-related degeneration in mice, resulting in new growth of the brain and testes, improved fertility, and the return of lost cognitive function.

Mapping the Neurons Created in Youth
Harvard study of brain development may shed light on brain disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

WHO Child Growth Charts


Earthquake effects in Tarapaca Chile.


Stress in the second and third months of pregnancy can shorten pregnancies, increase the risk of pre-term births and may affect the ratio of boys to girls being born, leading to a decline in male babies. These are the conclusions of a study that investigated the effect on pregnant women of the stress caused by the 2005 Tarapaca earthquake in Chile.

Although it has been known for a while that stress may affect the duration of pregnancy, until now, no study has looked at the impact of both the timing of the stress and the effect that stress might have on the ratio of male-to-female births. The research published online in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction [1], provides answers to these questions and also suggests that it is exposure to stress itself rather than other factors that can often accompany or cause stress, such as poverty, that appears to affect pregnancy.

Professors Florencia Torche (PhD) and Karine Kleinhaus (MD, MPH), of New York University (New York, USA), analysed birth certificates of all babies born between 2004-2006 in Chile; there were over 200,000 births a year. The birth records provided information on gestational age at delivery, sex, weight and height of the baby and whether any medical attention was required. They also included information on the mother's age, marital status, whether or not she had been pregnant before and in which of the 350 counties in Chile she lived. This information gave the researchers very specific information about how exposed the mothers were to the effects of the earthquake, based on how close they lived to the epicentre.

"Looking at information on gestational age at the time of the earthquake in a large, unselected group of women, enabled us to determine the risk for specific birth outcomes by gestational age of exposure to a stressor, which, because it was a natural disaster, was experienced by all at the same time, although in varying degrees of severity, depending on how close they lived to the epicentre," said Prof Torche who is Associate Professor of Sociology. "We were able to capture the developmental periods in which exposure to stress was most detrimental for either sex."

The earthquake measured 7.9 on the moment-magnitude scale (the successor to the Richter scale), which is classified as "disastrous". The areas most affected were the cities of Iquique and Alto Hospicio, and the surrounding towns. The researchers found that women who experienced a severe quake (because they lived closest) during their second and third months of pregnancy had shorter pregnancies and were at higher risk of delivering pre-term (before 37 weeks gestation).

The pregnancies of women exposed to the earthquake in the second month of pregnancy were on average 0.17 weeks (1.3 days) shorter than those in the unaffected areas of Chile. The pregnancies of those exposed in the third month were 0.27 weeks (1.9 days) shorter. Normally, about six in 100 women had a pre-term birth, but among women exposed to the earthquake in the third month of pregnancy, this rose by 3.4%, meaning more than nine women in 100 delivered their babies early.

The effect was most pronounced for female births; the probability of pre-term birth increased by 3.8% if exposure to the quake occurred in the third month, and 3.9% if it occurred in the second month. In contrast there was no statistically significant effect seen in male births.

As the stress of the earthquake had greater effect on pre-term births in girls rather than boys, the researchers had to make adjustments for this when calculating the effect of stress on the sex ratio: the ratio of male to female live births. They found that there was a decline in the sex ratio among those exposed to the earthquake in the third month of gestation of 5.8%.

Prof Kleinhaus, who is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Environmental Medicine, explained: "Generally, there are more male than female live births. The ratio of male to female births is approximately 51:49 – in other words, out of every 100 births, 51 will be boys. Our findings indicate a 5.8% decline in this proportion, which would translate into a ratio of 45 male births per 100 births, so that there are now more female than male births. This is a significant change for this type of measure."

Previous research has suggested that in times of stress women are more likely to miscarry male foetuses because they grow larger than females and therefore require greater investment of resources by the mother; they may also be less robust than females and may not adapt their development to a stressful environment in the womb.

"Our findings on a decreased sex ratio support this hypothesis and suggest that stress may affect the viability of male births," said Prof Torche. "In contrast, among female conceptions, stress exposure appears not to affect the viability of the conception but rather, the length of gestation."

The researchers suggest that possible mechanisms to explain their findings could involve the placenta, which sets the duration of the pregnancy, and the effect of the stress hormone cortisol on the placenta's function.

Prof Torche concluded: "In terms of implications, it is clearly unrealistic to recommend avoiding natural disasters. However, this research suggests the need to improve access to healthcare for women from the onset of pregnancy and even before conception. Obviously this will not reduce the exposure to stress, but it may provide care, advice, and tools that would allow women to cope with stressful circumstances.

"A separate implication has to do with our ability to use a 'natural experiment' (the earthquake) to isolate the effect of stress from factors that commonly go with it. In particular, researchers have long suggested that poverty is bad for health outcomes because of the stress it elicits. This is very plausible, but it is difficult to disentangle the effect of stress alone from the effect of other factors associated with poverty, such as nutritional deprivation and poor housing, which could also have an independent impact on women's health and the outcome of their pregnancies. This makes it difficult to ascertain whether stress itself does, indeed, matter. Our research provides strong evidence that it does."

[1] "Prenatal stress, gestational age and secondary sex ratio: the sex-specific effects of exposure to a natural disaster in early pregnancy", by Florencia Torche and Karine Kleinhaus. Human Reproduction journal. doi:10.1093/humrep/der390

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-12/esoh-sie120611.php