The umbilical cord connects a baby in the womb to its mother. It runs from an opening in your baby's stomach to the placenta in the womb
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Second Trimester Anomaly Scan
The anomaly scan or ultrasound level II scan is the most common scan of the second trimester. This scan can show – · how your baby is growing and check the fetal movements · make sure your baby's internal organs are developing well · detect certain birth defects in your baby · estimate the amount of amniotic fluid · check the umbilical cord and position of the placenta · check for markers of chromosomal abnormalities. · check your cervix and measure the birth canal All pregnant women have a scan at this point because if a problem is detected, the necessary precautions need to be taken. The anomaly scan is done between 18 and 20 weeks. Your doctor may ask you to have more scans during your second trimester if: You are carrying twins or more. Your anomaly scan showed a low lying placenta. You've had spotting or bleeding from the vagina. The anomaly scan revealed problems in your pregnancy that need to be monitored. You have a medical condition such as diabetes or hypertension. You have a history of premature labour or late miscarriage. You do not need a full bladder for this scan. At this stage, your baby is big enough and high enough in your abdomen to be seen very clearly.You will need to expose your tummy, so it is a good idea to wear loose or two-piece clothing such as a salwar kameez or maternity pants and a top. This will allow the ultrasound doctor to access your tummy easily. You may be more comfortable too as you will not have to bother about removing your clothing. Nearly all second trimester scans are done abdominally. The ultrasound doctor applies (usually very cold) gel to your tummy and moves the probe or transducer over it to obtain images of your baby. As sound waves from the transducer bounce off your baby's features or organs, images are formed on a computer screen. The doctor will try his best to get as many angles of the baby in your tummy. When the doctor is able to get a clear picture of the baby, she/he will take measurements. Most hospitals or diagnostic centers allow you to watch the scan being done. It may be hard for you to make out your baby's organs, because the doctor will look at them in cross-section. Your baby's bones will appear white on the scan and soft tissues look grey and speckled. The amniotic fluid surrounding your baby will look black. The doctor will look at: The number of babies you are carrying. Twins are sometimes not found until 20 weeks. The shape and structure of your baby's head. It is possible to detect severe brain problems at this stage, but fortunately these are very rare. Your baby's face to check for a cleft lip. Cleft palates inside a baby's mouth are hard to see and are rarely picked up. Your baby's spine, both along its length and in cross-section. This is done to make sure all the bones align and that the skin covers the spine at the back. Your baby's abdominal wall, to make sure it covers all the internal organs at the front. Your baby's heart. The top two chambers (atria) and the bottom two chambers (ventricles) should be equal in size. The valves should open and close with each heartbeat. The doctor will also examine the major veins and arteries which carry blood to and from your baby's heart. Your baby's stomach. Your baby swallows some of the amniotic fluid that he lies in, which is seen in his stomach as a black bubble. Your baby's kidneys. The doctor will check that your baby has two kidneys, and that urine flows freely into his bladder. If your baby's bladder is empty, it should fill up during the scan and be easy to see. Your baby has been passing urine every half an hour or so for some months now! Your baby's arms, legs, hands and feet. The doctor will look at your baby's fingers and toes. In addition to this detailed look at how your baby is growing, the doctor will check: the placenta the umbilical cord the amniotic fluid The placenta will be described as low if it reaches down to or covers the neck of your uterus (cervix). If the placenta is lying low in your uterus, you'll have another scan in the third trimester to check its position. By then, it's likely the placenta will have moved away from your cervix. About 15 per cent of scans will need to be repeated for one reason or another. But this does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with your baby. Try not to panic in case something out of the normal routine shows up. Discuss it in detail with your doctor. Usually, your doctor will be able to reassure you. Feature Image Scan
Sources and types of stem cells
Cells in the body have specific purposes, but stem cells are cells that do not yet have a specific role and can become almost any cell that is required. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can turn into specific cells, as the body needs them. Scientists and doctors are interested in stem cells as they help to explain how some functions of the body work, and how they sometimes go wrong. Stem cells also show promise for treating some diseases that currently have no cure. Sources of stem cells Stem cells originate from two main sources: adult body tissues and embryos. Scientists are also working on ways to develop stem cells from other cells, using genetic "reprogramming" techniques. Adult stem cells Stem cells can turn into any type of cell before they become differentiated. A person's body contains stem cells throughout their life. The body can use these stem cells whenever it needs them. Also called tissue-specific or somatic stem cells, adult stem cells exist throughout the body from the time an embryo develops. The cells are in a non-specific state, but they are more specialized than embryonic stem cells. They remain in this state until the body needs them for a specific purpose, say, as skin or muscle cells. Day-to-day living means the body is constantly renewing its tissues. In some parts of the body, such as the gut and bone marrow, stem cells regularly divide to produce new body tissues for maintenance and repair. Stem cells are present inside different types of tissue. Scientists have found stem cells in tissues, including: the brain bone marrow blood and blood vessels skeletal muscles skin the liver However, stem cells can be difficult to find. They can stay non-dividing and non-specific for years until the body summons them to repair or grow new tissue. Adult stem cells can divide or self-renew indefinitely. This means they can generate various cell types from the originating organ or even regenerate the original organ, entirely. This division and regeneration are how a skin wound heals, or how an organ such as the liver, for example, can repair itself after damage. In the past, scientists believed adult stem cells could only differentiate based on their tissue of origin. However, some evidence now suggests that they can differentiate to become other cell types, as well. Embryonic stem cells From the very earliest stage of pregnancy, after the sperm fertilizes the egg, an embryo forms. Around 3–5 days after a sperm fertilizes an egg, the embryo takes the form of a blastocyst or ball of cells. The blastocyst contains stem cells and will later implant in the womb. Embryonic stem cells come from a blastocyst that is 4–5 days old. When scientists take stem cells from embryos, these are usually extra embryos that result from in vitro fertilization (IVF). In IVF clinics, the doctors fertilize several eggs in a test tube, to ensure that at least one survives. They will then implant a limited number of eggs to start a pregnancy. When a sperm fertilizes an egg, these cells combine to form a single cell called a zygote. This single-celled zygote then starts to divide, forming 2, 4, 8, 16 cells, and so on. Now it is an embryo. Soon, and before the embryo implants in the uterus, this mass of around 150–200 cells is the blastocyst. The blastocyst consists of two parts: an outer cell mass that becomes part of the placenta an inner cell mass that will develop into the human body The inner cell mass is where embryonic stem cells are found. Scientists call these totipotent cells. The term totipotent refer to the fact that they have total potential to develop into any cell in the body. With the right stimulation, the cells can become blood cells, skin cells, and all the other cell types that a body needs. In early pregnancy, the blastocyst stage continues for about 5 days before the embryo implants in the uterus, or womb. At this stage, stem cells begin to differentiate. Embryonic stem cells can differentiate into more cell types than adult stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) MSCs come from the connective tissue or stroma that surrounds the body's organs and other tissues. Scientists have used MSCs to create new body tissues, such as bone, cartilage, and fat cells. They may one day play a role in solving a wide range of health problems. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) Scientists create these in a lab, using skin cells and other tissue-specific cells. These cells behave in a similar way to embryonic stem cells, so they could be useful for developing a range of therapies. However, more research and development is necessary. To grow stem cells, scientists first extract samples from adult tissue or an embryo. They then place these cells in a controlled culture where they will divide and reproduce but not specialize further. Stem cells that are dividing and reproducing in a controlled culture are called a stem-cell line. Researchers manage and share stem-cell lines for different purposes. They can stimulate the stem cells to specialize in a particular way. This process is known as directed differentiation. Until now, it has been easier to grow large numbers of embryonic stem cells than adult stem cells. However, scientists are making progress with both cell types. Types of stem cells Researchers categorize stem cells, according to their potential to differentiate into other types of cells. Embryonic stem cells are the most potent, as their job is to become every type of cell in the body. The full classification includes: Totipotent: These stem cells can differentiate into all possible cell types. The first few cells that appear as the zygote starts to divide are totipotent. Pluripotent: These cells can turn into almost any cell. Cells from the early embryo are pluripotent. Multipotent: These cells can differentiate into a closely related family of cells. Adult hematopoietic stem cells, for example, can become red and white blood cells or platelets. Oligopotent: These can differentiate into a few different cell types. Adult lymphoid or myeloid stem cells can do this. Unipotent: These can only produce cells of one kind, which is their own type. However, they are still stem cells because they can renew themselves. Examples include adult muscle stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are considered pluripotent instead of totipotent because they cannot become part of the extra-embryonic membranes or the placenta. content source
Uses of stem cell
Stem cells themselves do not serve any single purpose but are important for several reasons. First, with the right stimulation, many stem cells can take on the role of any type of cell, and they can regenerate damaged tissue, under the right conditions. This potential could save lives or repair wounds and tissue damage in people after an illness or injury. Scientists see many possible uses for stem cells. Tissue regeneration Tissue regeneration is probably the most important use of stem cells. Until now, a person who needed a new kidney, for example, had to wait for a donor and then undergo a transplant. There is a shortage of donor organs but, by instructing stem cells to differentiate in a certain way, scientists could use them to grow a specific tissue type or organ. As an example, doctors have already used stem cells from just beneath the skin's surface to make new skin tissue. They can then repair a severe burn or another injury by grafting this tissue onto the damaged skin, and new skin will grow back. Cardiovascular disease treatment In 2013, a team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital reported in PNAS Early Editionthat they had created blood vessels in laboratory mice, using human stem cells. Within 2 weeks of implanting the stem cells, networks of blood-perfused vessels had formed. The quality of these new blood vessels was as good as the nearby natural ones. The authors hoped that this type of technique could eventually help to treat people with cardiovascular and vascular diseases. Brain disease treatment Doctors may one day be able to use replacement cells and tissues to treat brain diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. In Parkinson's, for example, damage to brain cells leads to uncontrolled muscle movements. Scientists could use stem cells to replenish the damaged brain tissue. This could bring back the specialized brain cells that stop the uncontrolled muscle movements. Researchers have already tried differentiating embryonic stem cells into these types of cells, so treatments are promising. Cell deficiency therapy Scientists hope one day to be able to develop healthy heart cells in a laboratory that they can transplant into people with heart disease. These new cells could repair heart damage by repopulating the heart with healthy tissue. Similarly, people with type I diabetes could receive pancreatic cells to replace the insulin-producing cells that their own immune systems have lost or destroyed. The only current therapy is a pancreatic transplant, and very few pancreases are available for transplant. Blood disease treatments Doctors now routinely use adult hematopoietic stem cells to treat diseases, such as leukemia, sickle cell anemia, and other immunodeficiency problems. Hematopoietic stem cells occur in blood and bone marrow and can produce all blood cell types, including red blood cells that carry oxygen and white blood cells that fight disease. Donating or harvesting stem cells People can donate stem cells to help a loved one, or possibly for their own use in the future. Donations can come from the following sources: Bone marrow: These cells are taken under a general anesthetic, usually from the hip or pelvic bone. Technicians then isolate the stem cells from the bone marrow for storage or donation. Peripheral stem cells: A person receives several injections that cause their bone marrow to release stem cells into the blood. Next, blood is removed from the body, a machine separates out the stem cells, and doctors return the blood to the body. Umbilical cord blood: Stem cells can be harvested from the umbilical cord after delivery, with no harm to the baby. Some people donate the cord blood, and others store it. This harvesting of stem cells can be expensive, but the advantages for future needs include: the stem cells are easily accessible less chance of transplanted tissue being rejected if it comes from the recipient's own body content source
Umbilical hernia in children - An overview..
If your baby has a bulge around his belly button, he may have an umbilical hernia. Before his umbilical cord falls off, you may notice that the area seems to stick out a little more when he cries. Or maybe, once the cord is gone, you see that his navel sticks out (an “outie,” as it’s commonly called). In some cases, even if you can’t see a bulge, you might be able to feel one. What Are the Symptoms? You’ll be able to see the hernia most clearly when your child cries, coughs, or strains as he tries to poop. That’s because all of these things put pressure on his abdomen. When he rests, you might not be able to see the hernia. Usually, they don’t hurt. Your child’s doctor can tell if he has one during a physical exam. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your child’s hernia for signs that the intestine has been trapped in the hole and can’t go back in. Doctors call this an incarcerated hernia. It can cause the area around the belly button to become painful, swollen, and even discolored. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your baby to the emergency room. What’s the Treatment? Most umbilical hernias don’t need any treatment. Usually, the hole heals on its own by the time your child is 4 or 5 years old. Even if it doesn’t, it’ll likely get smaller. That’ll make surgery a bit easier. You might think it looks like your child needs to have an operation, but his doctor might suggest you wait to see if the problem goes away on its own. If the hole is large, he may recommend surgery before your child turns 4 or 5. The procedure is done in a hospital or outpatient surgery center. It takes about 45 minutes, and your child will be given anesthesia so that he will not be awake. The surgeon will make a small cut just below the belly button. If any part of the intestine pokes through, he’ll put it back where it belongs. The doctor will use stitches to close the hernia. He’ll also sew the skin under the navel to give it an “innie” look. Then, he’ll seal the cut with surgical glue that’ll hold the edges of the wound together. It’ll come off by itself once the site heals. After the procedure, your child will stay at the hospital while he recovers from the anesthesia. Most kids can go home a few hours later.