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E. Understanding Fetal Heart Development

Narrator: This is Science Today. A technology called three-dimensional ultrasound offers researchers the cutting edge in understanding fetal heart development. Dr. Thomas Nelson and his colleagues in radiology at the University of California, San Diego, were the first to publish work in this field.

Nelson: Now, you can image the heart with 3D techniques on commercially available equipment, but because the heart beats in the developing baby as it does in everyone, it's very hard to image that and requires additional capabilities which we developed here at UCSD to really try to understand how the development of the fetal heart occurs.

Narrator: Nelson says this is vital since the heart is one of the major types of congenital anomalies that occur.

Nelson: So if you can recognize this and identify something developmentally, more accurately, you can do a better job of really understanding the situation with the developing fetus and right now, it's very hard for most practitioners to really evaluate adequately the development of the fetal heart.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.