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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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June 3, 2011--------News Archive

Rett Syndrome May be Treatable In Near Future
Rett has been considered a neurodevelopmental disorder, as symptoms appear in early childhood. However, these same symptoms appear after removal of Mecp2 in adult mice, suggesting it is critical to all normal brain functioning.

Color Red Increases Speed and Strength of Reactions
When humans see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful. And people are unaware of the color's intensifying effect.


June 2, 2011--------News Archive

Coffee Tied To Lower Prostate Cancer Risk
Regular coffee drinkers appear to have a lower risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer, evident in men who drank regular or decaffeinated coffee.

Mom's Placental Size Predicts Son's Heart Disease
Researchers investigating the foetal origins of chronic disease have discovered that combinations of a mother's body size and the shape and size of her baby's placenta can predict heart disease in men in later life.


June 1, 2011--------News Archive

Linking Environment and Genetics Triggering MS
Evironmental and inherited risk factors associated with multiple sclerosis converge to alter a critical cell function linked to the chronic neurologic disease.

Kids Who Bully Have Sleep Problems
Urban schoolchildren with behaviors like bullying more likely to have sleep-disordered breathing or daytime sleepiness.

Infrared Device Can Diagnose Bladder Dysfunction
A cell phone-sized, wireless near-infrared device is as reliable as the current “gold standard” invasive tests in determining bladder disease.


May 31, 2011--------News Archive

Why Does Flu Trigger Asthma?
Study suggests new therapeutic targets for virally-induced asthma attacks.

Healthy Kids For Women with Mitochondrial Disease
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can give women at risk of passing on a mitochondrial DNA disorder to their offspring, a good chance of being able to give birth to an unaffected child.


May 30, 2011--------News Archive

Link Between Estrogen And Blood Pressure Found
Researchers have found that long-term estrogen exposure generates excessive levels of the compound superoxide, which causes stress in the body.

Key Molecule for Stem Cell Pluripotency Discovered
Researchers have discovered what enables embryonic stem cells to differentiate into diverse cell types and thus to be pluripotent.

WHO Child Growth Charts

Researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch have discovered what enables embryonic stem cells to differentiate into diverse cell types and thus to be pluripotent.

This pluripotency depends on a specific molecule – E-cadherin – hitherto primarily known for its role in mediating cell-cell adhesion as a kind of “intracellular glue”.

If E-cadherin is absent, the stem cells lose their pluripotency.

The molecule also plays a crucial role in the reprogramming of somatic cells (body cells) into pluripotent stem cells EMBO Reports, advance online publication 27 May 2011; doi:10.1038/embor.2011.88)*.

Dr. Daniel Besser, Prof. Walter Birchmeier and Torben Redmer from the MDC, a member of the Helmholtz Association, used mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) in their stem cell experiments. In a first step they showed that the pluripotency of these stem cells is directly associated with the cell-adhesion molecule E-cadherin. If E-cadherin is absent, the stem cells lose their pluripotency.

In a second step the researchers investigated what happens when somatic cells that normally neither have E-cadherin nor are pluripotent are reprogrammed into a pluripotent stem cell state. In this reprogramming technique, somatic cells are converted into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This new technique may help researchers avoid the controversies that come with the use of human embryos to produce human embryonic stem cells for research purposes.

The MDC researchers found that in contrast to the original cells, the new pluripotent cells derived from mouse connective tissue contained E-cadherin.

“Thus, we have double proof that E-cadherin is directly associated with stem-cell pluripotency. E-Cadherin is necessary for maintaining pluripotent stem cells and also for inducing the pluripotent state in the reprogramming of somatic cells,” Dr. Besser said. “If E-cadherin is absent, somatic cells cannot be reprogrammed into viable pluripotent cells.”

In addition, E-Cadherin can replace OCT 4, one of the signaling molecules until now considered indispensable for reprogramming.

Next, the MDC researchers want to find out to what extent E-cadherin also regulates human embryonic stem cells. “Understanding the molecular relationships is essential for using human somatic cells to develop stem cell therapy for diseases such as heart attack, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease or diabetes,” Dr. Besser said.

*E-cadherin is crucial for embryonic stem cell pluripotency and can replace OCT4 during somatic cell reprogramming

Torben Redmer1,2*, Sebastian Diecke1,2*, Tamara Grigoryan1,3, Angel Quiroga-Negreira1,3,Walter Birchmeier1 & Daniel Besser1+
1Max Delbrueck Center, 2Department of Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Free University, and 3Department of Biology, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Original article: http://www.mdc-berlin.de/en/news/2011/20110527-mdc_researchers_discover_key_molecule_for_/index.html