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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 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 weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
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May 20, 2011--------News Archive

New Complexity In Genetic Diversity Of RNA
It turns out
RNA proteins do not precisely match the genes that encode them.

Validating Preschool Programs For Autism
Scientists from the Universities of Miami, North Carolina and Colorado, developed measures to evaluate teaching programs for autistic preschool children.


May 19, 2011--------News Archive

New Technique To 'Lift The Hood’ On Autism
A new study provides compelling evidence that exome-sequencing is an effective way to discover which of the 20,000 and more genes in the human genome are responsible for autism spectrum disorders.

Maternal Smoking Causes Changes In Fetal DNA
Children whose mothers or grandmothers smoked during pregnancy are at increased risk of asthma in childhood. A new study indicates changes in DNA methylation occuring before birth may be the root cause.


May 18, 2011--------News Archive

New Antiepileptic Drugs Don't Increase Birth Defects
Use of newer-generation antiepileptic drugs prescribed for bipolar mood disorders and migraine headaches, during the first trimester of pregnancy, are not associated with an increased risk of major birth defects in the first year of life in Denmark.

Neglect And Deprevation Age a Child's Chromosomes
Study of institutionalized Romanian children finds prematurely shortened telomeres, a mark of cell aging.


May 17, 2011--------News Archive

Older Fathers Linked to Autism In Children
Researchers sequenced protein-coding sections of affected childrens' genomes and their findings support population studies showing that autism is more common among children of older parents, especially older fathers.

Gene Variation Linked to Infertility in Women
A variation in a gene involved in regulating cholesterol also appears to affect progesterone in women, making it a likely culprit in cases of infertility.


May 16, 2011--------News Archive

Genetic Clue to Common Birth Defects Found
Scientists at King’s College London have for the first time uncovered a gene responsible for Adams-Oliver Syndrome, giving valuable insight into the possible genetic causes of common birth defects found in the wider population.

'Master switch' For Obesity and Diabetes Discovered
A gene linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels is in fact a 'master regulator' gene, which controls other genes found within fat in the body.

Tiny Change in One Gene May Explain Human Brain
The deep fissures and convolutions that increase the surface area and allow for rational and abstract thoughts of the human brain may be due to the LAMC3 gene.

Gene Change Can Get You Cancer Or Normal Growth
The deep fissures and convolutions that increase the surface area and allow for rational and abstract thoughts of the human brain may be due to one gene.


WHO Child Growth Charts

Studies in institutionalized Romanian children have found that the length of time spent in conditions of social deprivation and neglect correlates with lower IQ and behavioral problems.

A new study, led by researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and Tulane University, shows that early adversity even affects children's chromosomes – prematurely shortening the chromosome tips, known as telomeres, and hastening how quickly their cells "age."

The study, published online this week in Molecular Psychiatry, is the first to find an association between adversity and telomere length in children. It is part of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP), which is conducting a long-term clinical trial tracking two groups of institutionalized children: those who remained in the institution and those who were removed to high-quality foster care at varying ages.

Laboratory studies, conducted by Stacy Drury and colleagues at Tulane University, examined DNA samples collected from mouth swabs of the Romanian children (62 boys and 47 girls). The studies found that children exposed longer to institutional care before age 5 had significantly shorter relative telomere length (compared to that expected for their age) when they reached age 6-10.

"The telomere is designed to protect the chromosome, so accelerating how early in life telomeres lose length correlates with shortened life span," says Charles Nelson, PhD, director of the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Children's and principal investigator of BEIP. "Children institutionalized early in life have shortened telomeres, which may lead to health consequences downstream, including premature aging."

The actual biological significance of these findings is unknown, but the researchers note that studies in adults have associated shorter telomere length with cognitive defects and with increased rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The BEIP study contributes to a growing body of research linking early adversity with early shortening of telomeres. In 2004, Elizabeth Blackburn (who received a Nobel prize in 2009 for co-discovering telomeres) and Elisa Epel, both at the University of California at San Francisco, reported that women who took care of children with chronic illnesses had shorter telomeres – the equivalent of having lost 9 to 17 years of life. Other studies have found shorter telomere length in adults who experienced adversity, abuse or serious illness in childhood.

The BEIP study also found a gender difference. In girls, the amount of time spent in the institution before the baseline assessment (done at an average of 22 months of age) was the strongest predictor of telomere shortening during middle childhood; in boys, the cumulative amount of institutional care at the 54-month assessment was the stronger predictor.

"One question we are currently studying is whether telomere length can recover as a child spends more time in foster care, or whether the shortening we observed reflects a permanent change," says Nelson.

The Romanian orphanages, which mostly house children who were abandoned, not orphaned, are infamous for severe child neglect. They are a legacy of the 1960s, when Romania's Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu taxed all families that had fewer than five children. When families began having children they could not afford, Ceausescu built child placement centers. By 1989, when Ceausescu's government fell, more than 170,000 Romanian children were living in state-run institutions.

By the time BEIP was begun in 2000, the Romanian government had begun reuniting children with their birth families, cutting Romania's institutionalized population in half. Spurred by BEIP findings, the government has banned institutionalization for children younger than 2, unless they are profoundly handicapped; they have also started a network of foster care families.

The study was supported by the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Binder Family Foundation, Tulane University School of Medicine and The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD).

Founded in 1869 as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is one of the nation's leading pediatric medical centers, the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, and the largest provider of health care to Massachusetts children. In addition to 395 pediatric and adolescent inpatient beds and more than 100 outpatient programs, Children's houses the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries benefit both children and adults. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 members of the Institute of Medicine and 13 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. For more information about the hospital visit: www.childrenshospital.org/newsroom.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-05/chb-dan051311.php