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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

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 as women who did take the supplements.

The associated risk rose to seven times as great when combined with a high-risk genetic make-up, a study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute has found.

"Mothers of children with autism were significantly less likely than those of typically developing children to report having taken prenatal vitamins during the three months before and the first month of pregnancy," said Rebecca J. Schmidt, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the UC Davis School of Medicine and the study's lead author.

The finding is the first to suggest a concrete step women can take that may reduce the risk of having a child with autism. The study, "Prenatal vitamins, functional one-carbon metabolism gene variants, and risk for autism in the CHARGE Study," is published online early this week on the website of the journal Epidemiology, and scheduled to appear in print in July.

Consuming prenatal vitamins may be especially effective for genetically susceptible mothers and their children. Women with a particular high-risk genetic make up who reported not taking prenatal vitamins, had an estimated risk as much as seven times greater of having a child with autism than women who reported taking prenatal vitamins who have a more favorable gene variant.

The authors suggest that folic acid, vitamin B9, and all other B vitamins in prenatal supplements likely protect against deficits in early fetal brain development. Folate is known to be critical to neurodevelopment and studies have found that supplemental folic acid has the potential to prevent up to 70 percent of neural tube defects.

"This finding appears to be the first example of gene-environment interaction in autism," said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor and chief of the division of environmental and occupational health in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the UC Davis School of Medicine.

"It is widely accepted that autism spectrum disorders are the result of multiple factors, that it would be extremely rare to find someone who had a single cause for this behavioral syndrome. Nevertheless, previous work on genes has generally ignored the possibility that genes may act in concert with environmental exposures," said Hertz-Picciotto, the study's senior author and a researcher affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute.

Researchers collected data from approximately 700 Northern California families with children 2 to 5 years old with either autism or typical development, who were also participants in the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study between January 2003 and December 2009. All children were born in California and came from families speaking either English or Spanish. The autism diagnoses were confirmed through testing at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

Women who participated in the CHARGE study were asked via telephone whether they took prenatal vitamins, multivitamins or other supplements at any time during the three months prior to and during their pregnancies as well as during breastfeeding. If the respondent said she had taken vitamins, she was asked what type she took, at what dosage and frequency, and during which months of pregnancy.

“Because the mothers were asked about their vitamin use years after their pregnancies and after their child’s developmental status was known, some error is expected in their reporting. Moreover, in comparison with mothers who have an affected child, mothers whose children are healthy and show typical developmental milestones may be less likely to remember accurately, simply because they have less reason to reflect on and be concerned about their behaviors years earlier,” Schmidt said. This could have biased the results, she pointed out. Further research will be needed to rule out reporting bias.

Significant interaction effects were observed for two maternal genes, including a well-studied variant of the gene MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) associated with less efficient folate metabolism and increased levels in the blood of homocysteine, an amino acid.

Mothers of children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) were 4.5 times more likely to have the less efficient MTHFR gene and to report not taking prenatal vitamins around conception than were mothers of typically developing children.

A second maternal gene variation found in the maternal population with ASD children, leads to the decrease of an enzyme that codes for the CBS gene (cystathionine-beta-synthase) and elevates the amino acid - homocysteine - in the blood.

In addition, being homozygous for a common, functional variant in the child’s catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene was associated with more than seven times the estimated risk for autism. This gene reduces COMT enzyme activity three- to four-fold. The COMT enzyme, well known for its role in dopamine degradation, is activated during early neurodevelopment. Structural and functional brain differences have been described across COMT genotypes, particularly in the hippocampal and prefrontal cortex, regions affected by autism.

The finding, if replicated, provides a potential means of reducing the risk of having a child with autism. the authors said.

“The good news is that if this finding is replicated, it will provide an inexpensive, relatively simple evidence-based action that women can take to reduce risks for their child, which is to take prenatal vitamins as early as possible in a pregnancy and even when planning for pregnancy,” Hertz-Picciotto said.

Other study authors include Robin L. Hansen, Linda C. Schmidt and Daniel Tancredi, all of UC Davis, and Jaana Hartiala and Hooman Allayee, of UCLA.

The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, including funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; a United States Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grant; and a UC Davis MIND Institute Pilot Research Study grant.

The UC Davis MIND (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) Institute, in Sacramento, Calif., was founded in 1998 as a unique interdisciplinary research center where parents, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers collaborate to study and treat autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute has major research efforts in autism, Tourette syndrome, fragile X syndrome, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More information about the institute, including previous presentations in its Distinguished Lecture Series, is available on the web at http://healthsystem.ucdavis.edu/mindinstitute/.

Original article: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom/newsdetail.html?key=5077&svr=

http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu&table=published