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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 30, 2011--------News Archive

Success in Making The Spinal Cord Transparent
Stimulating damaged nerve cells to regenerate has been the goal of medicine. Now it is possible to trace nerve paths in a transparent spinal cord section.

Brain Glial Cells Are Much More Than Glue
Glia cells also regulate learning and memory, new research finds.

Stress Can Slow Skin Cancer, At Least Sometimes
Chronic stress is an affliction mostly limited to modern man. However, acute stress is an important response to dangerous situations and can speed recovery.

December 29, 2011--------News Archive

FDA Warning On Change to Infant Acetaminophen
Recent dosing changes to liquid infant acetaminophen, has the FDA urging parents to read the labels. The new form of the popular pain reliever is less concentrated.

Detox Your Diet!
Harvard School of Public Health wants us all to eat food without chemicals as much as possible to avoid changing our own and our kids' body chemistry.

Discovery of Brain Cell Malfunction in Schizophrenia
Schizophrenic brains reveal less flexibility in some histones (the spools that wind DNA) blocking gene function. The problem is more pronounced in young sufferers.

December 28, 2011--------News Archive

When "A Rose by Any Other Name" Is Not
Children and adults do not classify information in the same way.

Childhood Hypersensitivity Linked to OCD
Adult onset of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder could be connected to oral and tactile sensitivities seen in childhood.

Gene Critical for Development Linked to Arrhythmia
Altering the function of a gene called Tbx3 interferes with the development of the cardiac conduction system causing potentially lethal arrhythmias of the heartbeat.

December 27, 2011--------News Archive

Reversing Autoimmune Disease in Mice
A team of scientists has turned the tables on an autoimmune disease.

An Altered Gene Tracks RNA As It Edits Neurons
Biologists use technology to observe individual differences in fruit flies

Mother-Toddler Relationship Linked to Teen Obesity
The quality of the emotional relationship between a mother and her young child could affect the potential for that child to be obese during adolescence.

December 26, 2011--------News Archive

Severe Congenital Disorder Reversed in a Mouse
Adding a sugar to water during pregnancy protects embryos from defects.

lincRNAs Pivotal In Brain Development
Long intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) play key roles during brain development in zebrafish. Now human versions are substituting for the zebrafish.

Balancing the Womb
New research hopes to explain premature births and failed inductions of labor.

WHO Child Growth Charts

What Is Your BMI?

       



A network of neurons (in red) and glia cells (in green) grown in a petri dish. Blue dots are the cells' nuclei. Photo: Pablo Blinder.


Glia cells, named for the Greek word for "glue," hold the brain's neurons together and protect the cells that determine our thoughts and behaviors, but scientists have long puzzled over their prominence in the activities of the brain dedicated to learning and memory.

Now Tel Aviv University researchers say that glia cells are central to the brain's plasticity — how the brain adapts, learns, and stores information.

According to Ph.D. student Maurizio De Pittà of TAU's Schools of Physics and Astronomy and Electrical Engineering, glia cells do much more than hold the brain together. A mechanism within the glia cells also sorts information for learning purposes, De Pittà says.

"Glia cells are like the brain's supervisors. By regulating the synapses, they control the transfer of information between neurons, affecting how the brain processes information and learns."

De Pittà's research, led by his TAU supervisor Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob, along with Vladislav Volman of The Salk Institute and the University of California at San Diego and Hugues Berry of the Université de Lyon in France, has developed the first computer model that incorporates the influence of glia cells on synaptic information transfer.

Detailed in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, the model can also be implemented in technologies based on brain networks such as microchips and computer software, Prof. Ben-Jacob says, and aid in research on brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy.

Regulating the brain's "social network"

The brain is constituted of two main types of cells: neurons and glia. Neurons fire off signals that dictate how we think and behave, using synapses to pass along the message from one neuron to another, explains De Pittà. Scientists theorize that memory and learning are dictated by synaptic activity because they are "plastic," with the ability to adapt to different stimuli.

But Ben-Jacob and colleagues suspected that glia cells were even more central to how the brain works. Glia cells are abundant in the brain's hippocampus and the cortex, the two parts of the brain that have the most control over the brain's ability to process information, learn and memorize. In fact, for every neuron cell, there are two to five glia cells. Taking into account previous experimental data, the researchers were able to build a model that could resolve the puzzle.

The brain is like a social network, says Prof. Ben-Jacob. Messages may originate with the neurons, which use the synapses as their delivery system, but the glia serve as an overall moderator, regulating which messages are sent on and when. These cells can either prompt the transfer of information, or slow activity if the synapses are becoming overactive. This makes the glia cells the guardians of our learning and memory processes, he notes, orchestrating the transmission of information for optimal brain function.

New brain-inspired technologies and therapies

The team's findings could have important implications for a number of brain disorders. Almost all neurodegenerative diseases are glia-related pathologies, Prof. Ben-Jacob notes. In epileptic seizures, for example, the neurons' activity at one brain location propagates and overtakes the normal activity at other locations. This can happen when the glia cells fail to properly regulate synaptic transmission. Alternatively, when brain activity is low, glia cells boost transmissions of information, keeping the connections between neurons "alive."

The model provides a "new view" of how the brain functions. While the study was in press, two experimental works appeared that supported the model's predictions.

"A growing number of scientists are starting to recognize the fact that you need the glia to perform tasks that neurons alone can't accomplish in an efficient way," says De Pittà.

The model will provide a new tool to begin revising the theories of computational neuroscience and lead to more realistic brain-inspired algorithms and microchips, which are designed to mimic neuronal networks.

Original article: http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=15751