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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 21, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts


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Experts Call For Vitamin D Clinical Trials

Observational studies show vitamin D may benefit cardiovascular, skin and metabolic disorders

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that regulates calcium and phosphate levels in the bloodstream and promotes healthy bone growth.

Vitamin D deficiency is common throughout the world and results in abnormalities of calcium, phosphorus and bone metabolism which can lead to muscle weakness, osteomalacia, osteopenia and osteoporosis. While some observational studies have shown that benefits of vitamin D may extend beyond bone health, research findings remain inconsistent.

The Endocrine Society's new scientific statement represents the first comprehensive evaluation of both basic and clinical evidence related to the non-skeletal effects of vitamin D. The statement addresses current research associating vitamin D with immune function, hypertension, stroke, skin conditions and maternal/fetal health.

"The role of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention and treatment of chronic non-skeletal diseases remains to be determined," says Clifford Rosen, MD, of Tufts University School of Medicine and chair of the task force that authored the statement. "We need large randomized controlled trials and dose-response data to test the effects of vitamin D on chronic disease outcomes including autoimmunity, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease."

The scientific statement outlines the evidence that defines the effects of vitamin D on epidermal, neuromuscular, maternal/fetal and the abnormal growth of tissues.

The authors critically evaluated the literature for each organ system utilizing available evidence from observational studies and randomized trials to determine the strength of associations between vitamin D and tissue-specific outcomes.


Conclusions from the Statement Include:

Topical and oral vitamin D may be useful in treating skin disorders such as psoriasis, though large-scale randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials are needed to demonstrate the efficacy of treatment with vitamin D on skin disorders or the prevention of skin cancer.

The ever-expanding obesity epidemic has been associated with a rising prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, but a cause-and-effect relationship has not been established.

Strong evidence does not exist to support the tenet that vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes or the metabolic syndrome.


Vitamin D supplementation is likely to reduce the risk of falls, particularly in individuals who have low baseline levels (<20 ng/ml) and are supplemented with calcium as well.

Recent systematic reviews have found that evidence that vitamin D reduces cancer incidence are inconclusive as to causality. Observational evidence is strongest for colorectal cancer but is weak or inconsistent for breast, prostate and total cancer.

There is a possibility that vitamin D supplementation may lower cardiovascular disease risk, but there are limitations in applying observational data to clinical practice. An insufficiency of evidence from clinical trials does not support recommending vitamin D supplementation for lowering cardiovascular disease risk at this time.


Clinical trials are needed to test whether vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy will prevent type 1 diabetes in offspring.


The article, "The Nonskeletal Effects of Vitamin D: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement," appears in the June 2012 issue of The Endocrine Society's Endocrine Reviews

Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 15,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endo-society.org. Follow us on Twitter athttps://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-05/tes-ecf051712.php