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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.

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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
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June 18, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts


In mice, prenatal exposure to BPA is associated with increased
anxiety, aggression and cognitive impairments.


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BPA Exposure Effects May Last for Generations

New study shows gestational exposure to BPA leads to behavioral changes for 4 generations

Exposure to low doses of Bisphenol A (BPA) during gestation had immediate and long-lasting, trans-generational effects on the brain and social behaviors in mice, according to a recent study accepted for publication in the journal Endocrinology, a publication of The Endocrine Society.

BPA is a man-made chemical present in a variety of products including food containers, receipt paper and dental sealants and is now widely detected in human urine and blood. Public health concerns have been fueled by findings that BPA exposure can influence brain development. In mice, prenatal exposure to BPA is associated with increased anxiety, aggression and cognitive impairments.

"We have demonstrated for the first time to our knowledge that BPA has trans-generational actions on social behavior and neural expression," said Emilie Rissman, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

"Since exposure to BPA changes social interactions in mice at a dose within the reported human levels, it is possible that this compound has trans-generational actions on human behavior. If we banned BPA tomorrow, pulled all products with BPA in them, and cleaned up all landfills tomorrow it is possible, if the mice data generalize to humans, that we will still have effects of this compound for many generations."

In this study, female mice received chow with or without BPA before mating and throughout gestation. Plasma levels of BPA in supplemented female mice were in a range similar to those measured in humans. Juveniles in the first generation exposed to BPA in utero displayed fewer social interactions as compared with control mice. The changes in genes were most dramatic in the first generation (the offspring of the mice that were exposed to BPA in utero), but some of these gene changes persisted into the fourth generation.

"BPA is a ubiquitous chemical, it is in the air, water, our food, and our bodies," said Rissman. "It is a man-made chemical, and is not naturally occurring in any plant or animal. The fact that it can change gene expression in mice, and that these changes are heritable, is cause for us to be concerned about what this may mean for human health."

Other researchers working on the study include: Jennifer Wolstenholme, Michelle Edwards, Savera Shetty, Jessica Gatewood and Jessica Connelly of the University of Virginia; and Julia Taylor of the University of Missouri.

The article, "Gestational exposure to Bisphenol A produces trans-generational changes in behaviors and gene expression," appears in the XX 2012 issue of Endocrinology.

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 at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-06/tes-bee061412.php