Many features of the developing nervous system are visible from external observations of intact human embryos. In this study, a photographic atlas from the 4th to the 7th week after ovulation (Carnegie stages 10-18) is provided. The neural folds began to fuse at stage 10, and the rostral and caudal neuropore were closed during stages 11 and 12, respectively. The three primary divisions of the brain were distinguishable before closing of the neural tube. The five secondary brain vesicles were formed during stages 14-15. The development of the cerebellum and cerebrum were first observed at stages 14 and 15, respectively. The mesencephalic flexure was seen at stage 12, and the cervical flexure and pontine flexure at stage 14. After stages 18-19, it became increasingly difficult to identify detailed features of the brain from the surface. Results from this study will help to correlate the characteristic findings of the developing central nervous system of human embryos from stereomicroscopical and light microscopical observations and to locate the exact parts of the developing human brain for other purposes.
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