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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.


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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
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April 17, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts

Synapse occurring at the end of a neuron

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Research Identifies Gene Key to Neuron Survival

During development of the brain, hundreds of thousands of neurons die if they do not establish connections - synapses - with their target cells. Regulation of neuron survival and death is fundamental to a fuctional, organized brain

Researchers at the Institute of Neurosciences at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (INc-UAB) have identified the Nurr1 gene as fundamental to neuron survival associated with synapse activity.

The discovery, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, gives scientists a new target to help understand neural connections, which when faulty, are known to cause early cognitive deficits and Alzheimer's neurodegeneration characteristics.

The effect of synapse activity on the survival of neurons is not limited to the developing brain; it is also fundamental in the adult brain. Despite the importance of this process, there is no exact knowledge of the molecular mechanisms implied in neuron survival.

In the study directed by José Rodríguez Álvarez at the UAB Institute of Neurosciences, scientists made a massive analysis of gene activity and identified the key role played by the Nurr1 gene in the survival of neurons.

The researchers observed that when the activity of the Nurr1 gene is silenced, a neuron dies. This identification provides a better understanding of the relationship between early synaptic deficits and the posterior neurodegeneration observed in Alzheimer's disease.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/uadb-iag041612.php