Welcome to The Visible Embryo

Home- - -History-- -Bibliography- -Pregnancy Timeline- --Prescription Drugs in Pregnancy- -- Pregnancy Calculator- --Female Reproductive System- News Alerts -Contact

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!



Home

History

Bibliography

Pregnancy Timeline

Prescription Drug Effects on Pregnancy

Pregnancy Calculator

Female Reproductive System

Contact The Visible Embryo

News Alerts Archive

Disclaimer: The Visible Embryo web site is provided for your general information only. The information contained on this site should not be treated as a substitute for medical, legal or other professional advice. Neither is The Visible Embryo responsible or liable for the contents of any websites of third parties which are listed on this site.
Content protected under a Creative Commons License.

No dirivative works may be made or used for commercial purposes.

Return To Top Of Page
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
Search artcles published since 2007

June 15, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts


The study found that women who each day consumed the recommended amount of folic acid (600 micrograms, or .6 milligrams) during the first month of pregnancy experienced a reduced risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder.


WHO Child Growth Charts

What Is Your BMI?

       

Folic Acid Taken In Early Pregnancy Reduces Risk of Autism

A new study suggests that women who consume the recommended daily dose of folic acid, the synthetic form of folate or vitamin B-9, during the first month of pregnancy may have reduced child's risk of autism

The study was conducted by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute and furthers their earlier investigations which found that women who take prenatal vitamins around the time of conception have a reduced risk of having a child with autism.

The current study sought to determine whether the folic acid consumed in those supplements was the source of the protective effect. The finding suggests that, in addition to women who already have conceived, those who are attempting to become pregnant should consider consuming folic acid supplements, the authors state.

In the study, women who consumed 600 micrograms (.6 milligrams) of folic acid daily - during the first month of pregnancy - experienced a reduced risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder, specifically, a mother and/or her child with a specific genetic variant (MTHFR 677 C>T) associated with less efficient folate metabolism.

The study will be published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"This research is congruent with the findings of earlier studies that suggest that improved neurodevelopmental outcomes are associated with folic acid intake in early pregnancy," said lead study author Rebecca J. Schmidt, assistant professor of public health sciences in the UC Davis School of Medicine and a researcher with the UC Davis MIND Institute.

"It further supports recommendations that women with any chance of becoming pregnant should consider consuming folic acid at levels of 600 micrograms or greater per day."

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction, communication deficits and repetitive behaviors and often is accompanied by intellectual disability. An estimated 1 in 88 children born today will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"What's reassuring here is knowing that, by taking specific action in terms of their intake of folic acid from food or supplements, women can reduce the risk of autism spectrum disorder in their future children," said study senior author Irva Hertz-Picciotto, chief of the division of environmental and occupational health in the Department of Public Health Sciences and a MIND Institute researcher.

The study authors said that folic acid might offer protection against problems in embryonic brain development by facilitating DNA methylation reactions that can lead to changes in the way that the genetic code is read. An ample supply of methyl donors such as folic acid could be especially important in the period around conception, when the DNA methylation road map is set forth.

For the study, the researchers collected data from approximately 835 Northern California mothers of 2- to 5-year-old children who had autism, developmental delay or typical development and who were participants in the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study between 2003 and 2009.

Each mother's average daily folic acid intake was assessed on the basis of the amount and frequency of consumption of folic acid-containing dietary supplements such as prenatal vitamins and multivitamins, as well as the consumption of food supplemented with folic acid such as fortified breakfast cereals or energy bars.

Information was collected for the period when women were pregnant - and for the three months before they became pregnant.


The study found that mothers of typically developing children reported greater-than-average intake of folic acid, and were more likely to meet intake recommendations during the first month of pregnancy than were mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder.


Among study participants, as the amount of folic acid consumed increased, the associated risk for autism spectrum disorder decreased. Mothers of children with developmental delay tended to have lower estimated folic acid intake when compared with mothers of typically developing children during the three months before pregnancy.

The mothers of infants who were developing normally said they consumed an estimated average of 779 micrograms of folic acid daily and 69 percent of them at least met the daily guidelines. The mothers of children with autism consumed an estimated average of 655 micrograms of folic acid. Fifty-four percent of them consumed the recommended 600 micrograms or more per day.

Consuming supplemental folic acid before and during early pregnancy has been recommended for decades, after studies demonstrated its potential to prevent up to 70 percent of neural tube defects, or improper formation of the embryonic brain and spinal cord.


Folic acid's protective effect on neural tube defects also was stronger when mothers and/or children carried the MTHFR 677 C>T gene variant. Early maternal folic acid supplementation has more recently been shown to improve other social, attention and behavioral outcomes in the developing child.


Additional study authors include Daniel J. Tancredi, Sally Ozonoff, Robin Hansen, Linda Schmidt and Flora Tassone of UC Davis and Jaana Hartiala and Hooman Allayee of the University of Southern California.

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health for both the CHARGE Study and this work (1R01-ES015359, 5R01-ES015359-03S1, P01-ES11269, 2K12HD051958-06, and T32-MH073124) and by grants R-829388 and R833292 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program and the UC Davis MIND Institute.

At the UC Davis MIND Institute, world-renowned scientists engage in research to find improved treatments as well as the causes and cures for autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, fragile X syndrome, Tourette syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Advances in neuroscience, molecular biology, genetics, pharmacology and behavioral sciences are making inroads into a better understanding of brain function. The UC Davis MIND Institute draws from these and other disciplines to conduct collaborative, multidisciplinary research. For more information, visit mindinstitute.ucdavis.edu.

Original article: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/6677