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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
Click weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
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May 9, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts

A new study finds that fetal exposure to the plastic additive bisphenol A, or BPA, alters
mammary gland development in primates. The finding adds to the evidence that the
chemical can be causing health problems in humans and bolsters concerns about
it contributing to breast cancer.

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BPA Affects Monkey Mammary Glands

Study adds to growing health concerns about common plastic additive

A new study finds that fetal exposure to the plastic additive bisphenol A, or BPA, alters mammary gland development in primates. The finding adds to the evidence that the chemical can be causing health problems in humans and bolsters concerns about it contributing to breast cancer.

"Previous studies in mice have demonstrated that low doses of BPA alter the developing mammary gland and that these subtle changes increase the risk of cancer in the adult," says Patricia Hunt, a geneticist in Washington State University's School of Molecular Biosciences. "Some have questioned the relevance of these findings in mice to humans. But finding the same thing in a primate model really hits uncomfortably close to home."

The research appears in the latest Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. Hunt and Tufts University School of Medicine researchers Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein—all pioneers in the effects of BPA—co-designed the study with Catherine VandeVoort at the University of California at Davis, where the study was performed.

The Tufts researchers compared the structure of newborn mammary glands from BPA-exposed and unexposed female rhesus macaques. Pregnant monkeys were fed a piece of fruit containing a small amount of BPA each day during the gestational period corresponding to the human third trimester of pregnancy, resulting in blood levels of BPA comparable to those of many Americans today.

The researchers found that, at birth, the density of mammary buds was significantly increased in BPA-exposed monkeys, and the overall development of the mammary gland was more advanced compared to unexposed monkeys. Previous studies in the Soto and Sonnenschein laboratories have shown that exposing rodents to tiny amounts of BPA can alter mammary gland development, leading to pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions when the animals exposed in utero reach adult age.

The researchers say the primate research makes them confident that the rodent mammary gland is a reliable model to study developmental exposures to chemicals like BPA that disrupt a mammal's estrogen activity.

"This study buttresses previous findings showing that fetal exposure to low xenoestrogen levels causes developmental alterations that in turn increase the risk of mammary cancer later in life," says Soto.

"Because BPA is chemically related to diethylstilbestrol, an estrogen that increased the risk of breast cancer in both rodents and women exposed in the womb, the sum of all these findings strongly suggests that BPA is a breast carcinogen in humans and human exposure to BPA should be curtailed."

BPA has been banned in some containers in 11 states, California being the most recent. In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration turned down an environmental group's petition to ban the use of the product but said it would continue research on its health effects.

Original article: http://news.wsu.edu/pages/publications.asp?Action=
Detail&PublicationID=31639&TypeID=1