Welcome to The Visible Embryo

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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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Disclaimer: The Visible Embryo web site is provided for your general information only. The information contained on this site should not be treated as a substitute for medical, legal or other professional advice. Neither is The Visible Embryo responsible or liable for the contents of any websites of third parties which are listed on this site.
Content protected under a Creative Commons License.

No dirivative works may be made or used for commercial purposes.

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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
Google Search artcles published since 2007
 
April 15, 2011--------News Archive

TET1 Crucial to Fetal Development and Cancer
TET1 ensures normal fetal development and is crucial when certain genes need to turn on or off during cell division.

Aging Eggs Key to Miscarriage and Birth Defects
By the time a woman is in her 40s, about half her eggs are probably chromosomally abnormal; for women in their 20s, it's probably about 10 percent.


April 14, 2011--------News Archive

Female Body Basis for Medical Autopsy/Dissection
The female body is at the heart of the development of autopsy and dissection beginning with medical practices from the middle ages.

A Measure of Cell Health - The Length of Telomeres
UCSF scientists report studies showing psychological stress leads to shorter telomeres – the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. The findings also suggest that exercise may prevent this damage.


April 13, 2011--------News Archive

Air Polution Prenatally Linked to Behavior Problems
Mothers' exposure during pregnancy to pollutants may lead to behavioral problems in their children.

Stress In Pregnancy May Create Obesity in Child
Increasing evidence supports that pregnancies that are physically or psychologically stressed are at higher risk of producing obese offspring.


April 12, 2011--------News Archive

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Studied for Lupus Therapy
Human umbilical cord blood stem cells found to benefit the treatment of lupus nephritis in mice with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Dopamine Controls Formation of New Brain Cells
The neurotransmitter dopamine acts as a handbreak turning off the production of stem cells forming new neurons in the adult brain.


April 11, 2011--------News Archive

Untangling The Complexity Of The Brain
There are an estimated one hundred billion nerve cells in the brain. Now scientists are moving closer to building a model of these connections and their functions.

New Treatment for Rare Recurrent Fever in Kids
A rare syndrome called periodic fever associated with aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis and cervical adenitis — or PFAPA — is diagnosed using tools from the Human Genome Project.


WHO Child Growth Charts

Science has moved a step closer to being able to develop a computer model of the brain by developing a technique to map connections and functions of brain nerve cells together for the first time.

A new area of research is emerging in neuroscience

known as 'connectomics', paralleling genomics which is mapping our genetic make-up. Connectomics aims to map the brain's connections (known as 'synapses'). By mapping synapses – and how information flows through the circuits of the brain – scientists hope to understand how perceptions, sensations and thoughts are generated and how things go wrong in diseases such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and stroke.

Mapping the brain's connections is no trivial task, there are estimated to be one hundred billion nerve cells ('neurons') in the brain, each connected to thousands of other nerve cells – making an estimated 150 trillion synapses. Dr Tom Mrsic-Flogel, a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow at University College London (UCL), has been leading a team of researchers trying to make sense of this complexity.

"How do we figure out how the brain's neural circuitry works?" he asks. "We first need to understand the function of each neuron and find out to which other brain cells it connects. If we can find a way of mapping the connections between nerve cells of certain functions, we will then be in a position to begin developing a computer model to explain how the complex dynamics of neural networks generate thoughts, sensations and movements."

Nerve cells in specific areas of the brain perform different functions. Dr Mrsic-Flogel's group focuses on the visual cortex, which processes information from the eyes. For example, some neurons in the visual cortex detect only the edges of images; becomming active only upon detecting a horizontal edge, or a vertical edge.

Higher up in the visual hierarchy, some neurons respond to more complex visual features such as faces. Lesions to this area of the brain can prevent recognition of faces, even when the same individual can recognise individual features such as eyes and the nose. Dr. Oliver Sachs famously described such cases in his book "The Man Who Mistook Wife for a Hat."

The study is published online in the journal Nature, where a description of the technique (developed in mice) explains how they combined information about the function of neurons with details of each synaptic connection.

Using high resolution imaging of the mouse brain, the scientists were able to detect which neuron responded to a particular stimulus. The researchers then applied small currents to a subset of neurons to see which other neurons responded – pinpointing which were synaptically connected. Through continual repeations of this technique, the researchers traced the function and connectivity of nerve cells in the mouse visual cortex.

The study has resolved a debate about whether local connections between neurons are random – connecting sporadically, independent of function – or whether they are ordered – constrained by properties of a specific neuron responding to a specific stimuli. The researchers showed that neurons which responded very similarly to visual stimuli, tend to connect to each other.

The researchers intend to generate a wiring diagram first of the visual cortex, then apply the technique to reveal the wiring of regions covering touch, hearing and movement.

"We are beginning to untangle the complexity of the brain," says Dr Mrsic-Flogel. "Once we understand the function and connectivity of nerve cells spanning different layers of the brain, we can begin to develop a computer simulation of how this remarkable organ works. But it will take many years of concerted efforts amongst scientists and massive computer processing power before it can be realised."

The research was supported by the Wellcome Trust, the European Research Council, the European Molecular Biology Organisation, the Medical Research Council, the Overseas Research Students Award Scheme and UCL.