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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

When children with asthma get the flu, they often land in the hospital gasping for air. Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have found a previously unknown biological pathway explaining why influenza induces asthma attacks.

Studies in a mouse model, published online May 29 by the journal Nature Immunology, reveal that influenza activates a newly recognized group of immune cells called natural helper cells – presenting a completely new set of drug targets for asthma.

If activation of natural helper cells, or their asthma-inducing secretions, could be blocked, asthmatic children could be more effectively protected when they get the flu and possibly other viral infections, says senior investigator Dale Umetsu, MD, PhD, of Children's Division of Immunology.

Although most asthma is an allergic response, attacks triggered by viruses tend to put children in the hospital, as our existing drugs do not control this type of asthma well.

"Virtually 100 percent of asthmatics get worse with a viral infection," says Umetsu. "We really didn't know how that happened, but now we have an explanation, at least for influenza."

Natural helper cells were very recently discovered in the intestines, and are now recognized as part of our innate immune system (our first line of immune defense) in fighting parasitic worm infections.

"Since the lung is related to the gut – both are exposed to the environment – we asked if natural helper cells might also be in the lung and be important in asthma," Umetsu says.

Experiments, led by Ya-Jen Chang, PhD, and Hye Young Kim, PhD, in Umetsu's lab, showed that helper cells are indeed in the lung in a mouse model of flu-induced asthma, but did not appear in allergic asthma. The model showed that influenza A infection stimulates production of a compound called IL-33 that activates natural helper cells, which than secrete asthma-inducing compounds.

"Without these cells being activated, infection did not cause airway hyperreactivity, the cardinal feature of asthma," Umetsu says. "Now we can start to think of this pathway as a target – IL-33, the natural helper cell itself or the factors it produces."

Personalized Medicine in Asthma?

The study adds to a growing understanding of asthma as a collection of different processes, all causing airways to become twitchy and constricted. "In mouse models we're finding very distinct pathways," Umetsu says.

Most asthma-control drugs, such as inhaled corticosteroids, act directly on TH2 cells, which are important in allergic asthma.

However, Umetsu's team showed in 2006 that natural killer T-cells (NKT cells) are also important in asthma, and demonstrated their presence in the lungs of asthma patients. They showed that NKT cells can function independently of TH2 cells, for example, when asthma is induced by ozone - a major component of air pollution.

Compounds targeting NKT cells are now in preclinical development.

The recognition of a third pathway for asthma, involving natural helper cells, reflects the diversity of triggers seen in asthma patients.

"Clinically, we knew there were different asthma triggers, but we thought there was only one pathway for asthma," Umetsu says, adding that all of the identified pathways can coexist in one person. "We need to understand the specific asthma pathways present in each individual with asthma and when they are triggered, so we can give the right treatment at the right time."

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 members of the Institute of Medicine and 13 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. For more information about research and clinical innovation at Children's, visit: http://vectorblog.org.

Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-05/chb-wdf052611.php