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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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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.
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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 10, 2011--------News Archive

Hormone Test Helps Predict Success In IVF
Women with high levels of the hormone AMH produced more eggs for in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, and were more likely to have pregnancies.

Fragile X Protein Acts as Toggle Switch in Brain Cells
Research shows how the protein missing in fragile X syndrome – the most common inherited form of intellectual disability – acts as a molecular toggle switch in brain cells.


June 9, 2011--------News Archive

Early Light Refines the Brain’s Vision Circuitry
Light and sight are connected from the beginning.

Molecule Shared by Nervous and Vascular Systems
IRCM researchers show that a key molecule of the vascular system is essential for the formation of neural circuits.


June 8, 2011--------News Archive

Fetal Exposure to BPA Changes Uterus in Primates
Oral intake of BPA altered expression of HOX and WNT genes which are critical for uterine development.

Pregnancy Weight Gain Risks Fat Baby, Child, Adult
Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy tend to have newborns with a high amount of body fat, regardless of the mother's weight before pregnancy.


June 7, 2011--------News Archive

Exposure to BPA Has Been Underestimated
New research results indicate BPA accumulates more rapidly within the body than previously thought.

Pregnant Women Can Prevent Excess Weight Gain with Simple Steps
Women who did not self-weigh gained an average of 15.2 pounds.


June 6, 2011--------News Archive

Programming Disease by Gender
Excess maternal stress can program adverse health effects through multiple generations, especially in boys.

Birth Control Pill for Men On the Horizon?
But to make the pill a reality, research needs to show that the compound is safe, effective – and reversible.

Finding How Pre-gut Cells Become Focused
Research has outlined exactly how specific cells in sea-urchin embryos become the endoderm, the domain that eventually forms the gut.

Found, Genetic Mutation Causing Excess Hair Growth
Scientists in Beijing, China, have discovered a chromosome mutation responsible for a very rare condition in which people grow excess hair all over their bodies.

WHO Child Growth Charts

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center are honing in on the development of what may be the first non-steroidal, oral contraceptive for men.

Tests of low doses of a compound that interferes with retinoic acid receptors (RARs), which bind with the small molecules produced by dietary vitamin A, showed that it caused sterility in male mice. The research found that low doses of the drug stopped sperm production with no apparent side effects. And crucial for a contraceptive, normal fertility was restored soon after the drug was stopped.

Earlier research led investigators to discover that manipulating the retinoid receptor could interfere with sperm production, though scientists have known for almost 100 years that depriving an animal of dietary vitamin A causes male sterility.

While investigating the loss of function of the gene encoding RARalpha, one of the RARs which results in male infertility, senior author Debra J. Wolgemuth, Ph.D., ran across a paper by Bristol-Myers Squibb on treatment of skin and inflammatory diseases. The compound used seemed to cause changes in the testis similar to the mutation that she and Dr. Chung were studying in Dr. Wolgemuth's lab, both researchers are at Columbia University Medical Center.

Bristol-Myers lost interest in it's compound when it found it was - in the company's words - "a testicular toxin." Their paper did not elaborate on how the drug caused infertility, so Dr. Wolgemuth and her team tested the drug in mice and noted that the changes it caused were similar to vitamin A-deficiency and loss of function of RARalpha.

"We were intrigued," said Dr. Wolgemuth. "One company's toxin may be another person's contraceptive."

Dr. Wolgemuth and her team investigated the compound to see if it prevented conception at even lower levels than cited in Bristol-Myers' study. They found they could reverse male sterility with doses as low as 1.0mg/kg of body weight for a 4-week dosing period.

The advantages of using a non-steroidal approach is avoiding such side effects as: varying ethnic responses, an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, benign prostate enlargement, and diminished libido.

"We have seen no side effects, so far, and our mice have been mating quite happily," said Dr. Wolgemuth.

The researchers say the drug will not affect vision. Although dietary vitamin A is responsible for the production of light-sensitive receptors in the eye, it does not use the RARs.

"An additional benefit of our compound is that it can be taken orally as a pill, avoiding the injection process. It also appears to have a very rapid effect on sperm production and an even more rapid recovery when fertility is desired," said Dr. Chung.

But to make the pill a reality, researchers need to show that the compound is safe, effective – and reversible – when used for years.

Drs. Wolgemuth and Chung are now planning longer-term studies to determine how long fertility can be disrupted and still recover after administration of the drug stops.

Says Dr. Chung: "We hope that in the not so distant future, we may finally have more choices for people."

Earlier results of the experiments using the RAR antagonist were published in the June 1st issue of Endocrinology, and an abstract extending the studies to longer drug delivery periods is scheduled for the Late Breaking Oral Session of ENDO 2011: The 93rd Annual Meeting & Expo in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Wolgemuth is professor of genetics and development and of obstetrics and gynecology; and Dr. Chung is an associate research scientist, both at Columbia University Medical Center.

The abstract, titled "Meeting Men's Contraceptive Needs—Long-Term Oral-Administered Retinoic Acid Receptor Antagonist Inhibits Spermatogenesis in Mice with a Reversible and Rapid Recovery," will be presented at the session by first author Sanny S. W. Chung, Ph.D., on Saturday, June 4, 11:15 a.m., Room 157ABC, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Other authors of the Endocrinology study are Xiangyuan Wang, Shelby S. Roberts, Stephen M. Griffey, Peter R. Reczek, and Debra J. Wolgemuth.

This study was supported in part by grants initially from CONRAD and subsequently from the NIH, NICHD.

The authors declare no financial or other conflicts of interest.

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-06/cumc-cab060111.php