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

Predicting Diabetes 7 Years Before Pregnancy
A woman's risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy can be identified up to seven years before she is pregnant based on routine blood sugar and weight.

Caffeine Can Reduce Fertility In Women
Caffeine reduces muscle activity in the fallopian tubes which should move eggs from a woman's ovaries into her womb.


May 26, 2011--------News Archive

Take Prenatal Vitamins Early And Reduce Autism
Women who reported not taking a daily prenatal vitamin immediately before and during the first month of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to have a child with an autism spectrum disorder.

High-Fat Pregnancy Diet Programs Child for Diabetes
A high-fat diet during pregnancy can program a woman's baby for future diabetes, even if she herself is not obese or diabetic.


May 25, 2011--------News Archive

New Insight Into Obesity and Metabolic Disorders
Focussing on endoplasmic reticulum reverses Type 2 diabetes in mice.

New Drug Stops Aggressive Childhood Leukemia
Investigators have been able to overcome a form of leukemia through targeted therapy, completly eradicating the cancer in cell and animal studies.


May 24, 2011--------News Archive

New Genetic Testing Technology for IVF Embryos
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has devised a technique to help couples have in vitro fertilized babies free of genetic disease and chromosomal abnormalities.

A New Program for Neural Stem Cells
Max Planck Institute scientists have just produced central nervous system cells from neural stem cells taken from the peripheral nervous system.


May 23, 2011--------News Archive

The Mosh Pit of Cell Movement
Physical forces that guide how cells migrate - how they get from place to place inside the living body - are a mess.

Understanding and Treating Brittle Bones
Hope for developing new treatment of bone density mutations leading to such conditions as osteoporosis in adults and osteogenesis imperfecta in children.

Anesthesiologists' Affect On Maternal Fetal Outcome
A first-of-its-kind study exploring how anesthesiologists are perceived by labor and delivery colleagues.

Understanding How Retinas Develop
Using inbred mice, scientists have identified where genes contribute to cone photoreceptor development.

WHO Child Growth Charts

Reprogrammed neural stem cells transplanted into the brains of genetically modified mice, which otherwise cannot form myelin. The stem cells developed oligodendrocytes (green), which then form myelin (red).
Neural stem cells can do a lot, but not everything. For example, brain and spinal cord cells are not usually generated by neural stem cells from the peripheral nervous system, and it is not possible to produce cells of the peripheral nervous system from the stem cells of the brain.

However, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt and the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg have now succeeded in producing central nervous system cells from neural stem cells from the peripheral nervous system. They found that if peripheral stem cells are maintained under defined growth conditions, they generate oligodendrocytes, which form the myelin layer surrounding the neurons found in the brain and spinal cord.

The mammalian nervous system consists of a central (brain, spinal cord) and peripheral nervous system (e.g. nerves and sensory ganglia). Although the two systems are very closely interlinked, they differ anatomically and consist of different cell types. The cell types of the peripheral nervous system originate from precursor cells in the embryo called the neural crest. To date, it was believed that neural crest stem cells could generate the neurons and support cells, known as glial cells, of the peripheral nervous system, but not the cells from the central nervous system.

Environmental conditions clearly determine the kind of cells into which the neural crest stem cells develop. Together with colleagues from Paris, the Freiburg- and Frankfurt-based scientists succeeded in demonstrating that, under modified conditions, these stem cells can also generate cells of the central nervous system. They exposed stem cells from the peripheral nervous system of embryonic and postnatal mice to different culture conditions. In addition to neurons, the neural crest stem cells also developed into different types of glial cells of the central nervous system, including oligodendrocytes and astrocytes.

"The culture medium reprograms the neural crest stem cells in such a way that they change their identity. This worked without genetic modification of the cells," explains Hermann Rohrer from the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research.

Factors in the culture medium clearly activated a different genetic program so that cell types developed from the stem cells, which normally would not. The scientists do not yet understand the precise factors at work here. However, there are some indications that fibroblast growth factor (FGF) is involved in this transformation.

In the brains of mice at different developmental stages, reprogrammed stem cells mainly develope into oligodendrocytes. Oligodendrocytes form the myelin layer around the neurons of the central nervous system and are, therefore, indispensable for the transmission of electrical signals. Genetically modified mice that do not produce myelin and have severe neurological defects proved the transplantation experiments as the new oligodendrocytes assumed this task.

"The reprogrammed stem cells can form cells of the central nervous system, and the new cells can permanently integrate into this system," says Verdon Taylor of the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics.

It is not yet clear to what extent these findings will contribute to the development of stem cell therapy for humans. This will require similar stem cells being present and accessible in the peripheral nervous system of humans that can be propagated and reprogrammed in culture.

"At present, we only know that these stem cells in mice also have the potential to produce oligodendrocytes," says Hermann Rohrer. The scientists would now like to investigate in greater detail which molecular mechanisms are responsible for the reprogramming of the stem cells, whether neural crest stem cells also exist in the peripheral nervous system of adult mice and what kind of conditions are required to enable the reprogramming of these cells.

Peripheral nervous system progenitors can be reprogrammed to produce myelinating oligodendrocytes and repair brain lesions
Ellen Binder, Marion Rukavina, Hessameh Hassani, Marlen Weber, Hiroko Nakatani, Tobias Reiff, Carlos Parras, Verdon Taylor, and Hermann Rohrer
Journal of Neuroscience, April 27, 2011, DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0129-11.2011

Original article: http://www.mpg.de/4311364/neural_stem_cells?filter_order=L