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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 33333333333333333333333
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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

A high-fat diet during pregnancy may program a woman's baby for future diabetes, even if she herself is not obese or diabetic, says a new University of Illinois study published in the Journal of Physiology.

"We found that exposure to a high-fat diet before birth modifies gene expression in the livers of offspring so they are more likely to overproduce glucose, which can cause early insulin resistance and diabetes," said Yuan-Xiang Pan, a U of I professor of nutrition.

The high-fat diet that caused these changes was a typical Western diet that contained 45 percent fat, which is not at all unusual, he said.

"In recent years, the American diet has shifted to include many high-energy, high-fat, cafeteria-type, and fast foods," he noted.

Because the epigenetic marks can be easily evaluated, Pan hopes that the study will give doctors a diagnostic tool to screen newborns born with this propensity so they can help children keep their blood sugar in a normal range and give them their best chance of avoiding diabetes.

In the study, Pan and doctoral student Rita Strakovsky fed obesity-resistant rats either a high-fat or a control diet from the first day of gestation. Because the animals were not obese before the study began, the scientists were able to determine that diet alone had produced these effects.

"At birth, offspring in the high-fat group had blood sugar levels that were twice as high as those in the control group, even though their mothers had normal levels," Strakovsky said.

The high-fat offspring also had epigenetic modifications to genes that regulate glucose metabolism. One of these modifications, the acetylation of histones, acts by loosening the DNA, making it easier for the gene to be transcribed, she said.

Pan said these epigenetic marks would not be erased easily. However, if people were aware of them, they could change their diet and lifestyle to compensate for their predisposition, delaying or even preventing the development of diabetes.

"We'd like to see if diet after birth could alleviate this problem that was programmed before birth," he said.

Although their study points to using epigenetics as a diagnostic tool, Strakovsky stressed the importance of making dietary recommendations for pregnant women more available so they are able to prevent this health problem.

"Obstetrics patients rarely see a dietitian unless they're having medical problems like gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia. Doctors now tend to focus on how much weight a woman should gain in a healthy pregnancy. Although healthy weight gain is extremely important, nutritional guidance could be invaluable for all pregnant women and their babies," she said.

Pregnant women should consume a balanced diet low in saturated fats, which are usually found in fattier cuts of meat, fast foods, pastries, and desserts. But they should also consume appropriate amounts of healthy fats, including good sources of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, which are important for their baby's brain and neuron development.

Cold-water fish that are low in mercury, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, soybean and cod liver oils, walnuts and winter squash are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs, corn oil, whole-grain bread, poultry, and sunflower seeds and oil provide omega-6 fatty acids.

"Until now we didn't realize that a mother's diet during pregnancy had a long-term effect on the metabolic pathways that affect her child's glucose production," Pan said. "Now that we know this, we urge pregnant women to eat a balanced low-fat diet that follows government guidelines. Then a woman can prime her child for a healthy life instead of future medical struggles."

The article, "Gestational high-fat diet programs hepatic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase gene expression and histone modification in neonatal offspring rats," is available pre-publication online at http://jp.physoc.org/content/early/2011/03/28/jphysiol.2010.203950.full.pdf+html. Co-authors are Rita S. Strakovsky, Xiyuan Zhang, and Dan Zhou, all of the U of I. The study was funded by the USDA.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-05/uoic-hdd052511.php