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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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December 23, 2011--------News Archive

Defending the Genome
New research illustrates how the genome adapts to a transposon invasion that threatens fertility in the fruit fly. The same mechanism may exist in humans.

Multiple Sclerosis Not an Immune System Disease
Recent research argues that multiple sclerosis, long viewed as primarily an autoimmune disease, is more similar to hardening of the arteries.

Toddlers Rely On Others To Monitor Their Speech
When grown-ups and kids speak, they listen to the sound of their voice and make corrections based on that auditory feedback - something toddlers can't do.

December 22, 2011--------News Archive

How Pregnancy Changes a Woman’s Brain
At no other time in a woman’s life does she experience such massive hormonal fluctuations as during pregnancy.

New Device To Support Improved Newborn Health
Fetal heart rate monitor also tracks how well an infant is using oxygen.

Weight Reduction Through Mindful Eating
Pregnancy is a time when heavy women tend to gain an excessive amount of weight and later find it very hard to lose.

December 21, 2011--------News Archive

Breast Cancer, Heart Disease Share Common Roots
Women who are at risk for breast cancer may also be at greater risk for heart disease.

Breastfeeding Promotes Healthy Growth
Breastfeeding lowers the growth hormones IGF-I and insulin, promoting slightly slower growth and reducing adult risk of overweight and diabetes.

First Months of Life Shape Flavor Preferences
Early dietary experience shapes salt preference of infants and preschoolers.

December 20, 2011--------News Archive

Babies Remember Even As They Seem to Forget
How much do babies remember about the world around them, and what details do their brains need to absorb to help them keep track of things and people?

Safer Treatment for Asthma, Allergies, Arthritis?
Found, a missing link between our biological clock and sugar metabolism which may avoid serious side effects of drugs used for asthma, allergies and arthritis.

Endometriosis Link to Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease is found in women with endometriosis in a nationwide Danish study.

December 19, 2011--------News Archive

Gene Discovered that Causes Rare Infant Epilepsy
Childhood disorder called PKD linked to a mysterious gene found in the brain called PRRT2. The gene has little resemblance to anything in the human genome.

Don't Buy Noisy Toys!
If listened to at arms length, some popular items can permanently damage children's hearing - and hearing loss is not curable.

Childhood Cancer Drugs Cure, Later Cause Problems
Study indicates that drug toxicity may be related to genetic factors increasing risk of cardiomyopathy significantly in individuals with two copies of specific gene.

WHO Child Growth Charts

A large, international team of researchers led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco has identified the gene that causes a rare childhood neurological disorder called PKD/IC, or "paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia with infantile convulsions," a cause of epilepsy in babies and movement disorders in older children.

The paper "Mutations in the Gene PRRT2 Cause Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Dyskinesia with Infantile Convulsions" by Hsien-Yang Lee, et al, will appear in the journal Cell.

The study involved clinics in cities as far flung as Tokyo, New York, London and Istanbul and may improve the ability of doctors to diagnose PKD/IC, and it may shed light on other movement disorders, like Parkinson's disease.

The culprit behind the disease turns out to be a mysterious gene found in the brain called PRRT2. Nobody knows what this gene does, and it bears little resemblance to anything else in the human genome.

"This is both exciting and a little bit scary," said Louis Ptacek, MD, who led the research. Ptacek is the John C. Coleman Distinguished Professor of Neurology at UCSF and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Discovering the gene that causes PKD/IC will help researchers understand how the disease works. It gives doctors a potential new way of definitively diagnosing the disease by looking for genetic mutations in the gene. The work may also shed light on other conditions that are characterized by movement disorders, including possibly Parkinson's disease.

"Understanding the underlying biology of this disease is absolutely going to help us understand movement disorders in general," Ptacek said.

PKD/IC strikes infants with epileptic seizures that generally disappear within a year or two. However, the disease often reemerges later in childhood as a movement disorder in which children suffer sudden, startling, involuntary jerks when they start to move. Even thinking about moving is enough to cause some of these children to jerk involuntarily.

The disease is rare, and Ptacek estimates strikes about one out of every 100,000 people in the United States. At the same time, the disease is classified as "idiopathic"—which is just another way of saying we don't really understand it, Ptacek said.

If you take an image of the brain by MRI, patients with the disease all look completely normal. There are no injuries, tumors or other obvious signs that account for the movements—as is often the case with movement disorders. Work with patients in the clinic had suggested a genetic cause, however.

"Sometimes we trace the family tree, and lo and behold, there is a history of it," said Ptacek. In the last several years, he and his colleagues have developed a large cohort of patients whose families have a history of the disease.

The new research was based on a cohort of 103 such families that included one or more members with the disease. Genetic testing of these families led to the researchers to mutations in the PRRT2 gene, which cause the proteins the gene encodes to shorten or disappear entirely in the brain and spinal cord, where they normally reside.

One possible explanation for the resulting neurological symptoms, the researchers found, relates to a loss of neuronal regulation. When the genetic mutations cause the gene products to go missing, the nerve cells where they normally appear may become overly excited, firing too frequently or strongly and leading to the involuntary movements.

The article, "Mutations in the Gene PRRT2 Cause Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Dyskinesia with Infantile Convulsions" by Hsien-Yang Lee, Yong Huang, Nadine Bruneau, Patrice Roll, Elisha D.O. Roberson, Mark Hermann, Emily Quinn, James Maas, Robert Edwards, Tetsuo Ashizawa, Betul Baykan, Kailash Bhatia, Susan Bressman, Michiko K. Bruno, Ewout R. Brunt, Roberto Caraballo, Bernard Echenne, Natalio Fejerman, Steve Frucht, Christina A. Gurnett, Edouard Hirsch, Henry Houlden, Joseph Jankovic, Wei-Ling Lee, David R. Lynch, Shehla Mohammed, Ulrich Meuller, Mark P. Nespeca, David Renner, Jacques Rochette, Gabrielle Rudolf, Shinji Saiki, Bing-Wen Soong, Kathryn J. Swoboda, Sam Tucker, Nicholas Wood, Michael Hanna, Anne M. Bowcock, Pierre Szepetowski, Ying-Hui Fu and Louis J. Ptacek appears in the January 26, 2012 issue of Cell Reports. The article can be accessed online at: http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247%2811%2900006-4

In addition to UCSF, authors on this study are affiliated with the Université de la Méditerranée in Marseille, France; Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, MO; the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL; Istanbul University in Turkey; University College London; Beth Israel Medical Center in New York; the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, HI; the University of Groningen in the Netherlands; Juan P. Garrahan Pediatric Hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Hôpital Gui de Chauliac in Montpellier, France; Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York; Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg in France; Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore; Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Guy's Hospital in London; Justus-Liebig-Universität in Giessen, Germany; Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego; the university of California, San Diego; the University of Utah in Salt Lake City; the Université de Picardie Jules Verne in Amiens, France; Kanazawa Medical University in Ishikawa, Japan; the National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine in Taipei, Taiwan; Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan; the International Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Dyskinesia/Infantile Convulsions Collaborative Working Group; and the Juntendo University School of Medicine in Tokyo.

This work was funded by the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia Parkinson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Sandler Neurogenetics Fund, ANR, INSERM and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Original article: http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2011/12/11156/ucsf-led-team-discovers-cause-rare-disease