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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Is your baby really imitating you when you play peek-a-boo? Researchers now say there is no evidence that young infants are capable of imitation.

Copycat behavior is one of the most commonly noted characteristics of human children and it's a way that young kids learn how to act, speak, and behave. But new research published in Current Biology from the University of Queensland in Australia has demonstrated that imitation may not be a behavior that is innate.

In their study, the most comprehensive longitudinal study of neonatal imitation to date, researchers showed 106 newborns in Australia a variety of gestures four times, at different ages, and found that these babies were just as likely to produce matching as non-matching actions in response.

These results challenge claims that imitation is an innate human capacity evident at birth.

Infants are still definitely imitators – but not until around 6-8 months. In other words, imitation may involve learning rather than just instinct.

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U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(NEW YORK) -- Check your diaper bags-- a new recall has 180,000 pacifiers being pulled from shelves because of a choking hazard.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Munchkin, Inc. is recalling its "LatchTM lightweight pacifiers and clips" sold as a set because "the clip cover can detach from the pacifier’s clip, posing a choking hazard for young children."

"Epoxy coating on the clip can weaken in certain environmental conditions and detach posing a choking hazard to small children," said a statement on Munchkin's website. "There have been no reported injuries, but the product is being voluntarily recalled in an abundance of caution. The LatchTM Pacifier & Clip meet all regulatory requirements."

The CPSC said there were at least 10 reported cases where the clip cover detached from the pacifier clip.

The product was sold at a variety of retailers including Babies R Us, Target, and Wal-Mart, from March 2014 through March 2016 for between $11 and $15.

If you purchased the product, CPSC advises customers to keep the pacifier away from children and contact Munchkin for a free replacement Lightweight Pacifier pack.

"Consumers, who are not satisfied with the offer, will be able to receive a refund upon receipt of the entire product set," said Munchkin.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A mother-to-be’s blood sugar levels and weight gain during pregnancy may have more of an impact on childhood obesity than we previously thought, according to a new report.

Past research tells us that large babies born to mothers who either had diabetic pregnancies or gained “too much” weight were at higher risk of being overweight or obese in childhood. But what about normal weight babies with the same risk factors?

Researchers looked back at 24,141 normal weight babies born between 1995 and 2003, then checked their heights and weights during the first 10 years of life.  Moms who had either high blood sugar in pregnancy or excessive weight gain (more than 40 pounds) increased the risk of childhood obesity. This effect held even when they controlled for mom’s pre-pregnancy weight, showing the issue wasn’t just that overweight moms give birth to kids who grow to be overweight.

Notably, breast feeding was protective against childhood obesity, although the researchers only had breast versus bottle data on 302 of the mothers who were part of the study.

The study’s findings were published in Maternal and Child Health Journal.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The 2016 Kentucky Derby is set for Saturday, and everyone involved with horse racing dreams of owning a Triple Crown winner.

But for the thoroughbred horses that don’t succeed or have grown too old to compete, future prospects can be grim.

So what happens to racehorses after life on the track? At a farm project by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in Wallkill, about 80 miles north of New York City, retired racehorses are given a second chance from an unexpected group of men.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — The Hollywood couple who started a foundation to quickly fund research to find a cure for Batten Disease, which their two daughters are living with, says they are counting on a miracle now that the girls have received a breakthrough treatment that could save their lives.

Gordon Gray, the producer behind the movies Miracle and Secretariat, and his wife, Kristen, were told by doctors that their daughters, Charlotte, 5, and Gwyneth, 2, would not reach the age of 12 after both were diagnosed last year with the rare genetic illness that disrupts brain cells' normal function, causing blindness, seizures, dementia and, ultimately, death.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the disease is so rare that it affects an estimated two to four out of every 100,000 children in the United States. Only a few children in the country are currently living with CLN6, the specific gene mutation that affects Charlotte and Gwenyth.

A few weeks ago, the girls received a potentially life-saving treatment. They became the first patients in an FDA-approved clinical trial at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“It’s one treatment. It’s one injection...in the lower lumbar region,” Kristen Gray, Gordon’s wife and the girls’ mother, told ABC News in an interview that aired Friday on "Good Morning America."

Added her husband: “They’re missing the gene. They put the gene back in. It’s that simple.”

Charlotte — who had lost considerable speech and gross motor ability as the disease progressed — has improved after the treatment, and her parents hope that she will continue to get better.

“She’s more engaged...Her vocabulary has increased a little bit,” Kristen said, noting that her daughter would need intensive therapies and education to essentially retrain her brain.

Gordon said Charlotte was “obsessed” with the animated film “Frozen.” She was lying in bed recently and repeated a line from on the film's songs, Gordon said.

“That gives us a lot of hope, and it also shows us that she’s in there somewhere.”

Gwenyth was — and remains — mostly asymptomatic.

Last year the Grays started the Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray Foundation to Cure Batten Disease in order to raise funds for what Gordon called “a solution” to the disease. The foundation has raised $3.5 million so far.

“We need a million more dollars just to cover our commitments through October,” Gordon said.

“When we started this with our girls, we made a commitment," added Kristen. "It’s not just about our children. It’s about all these children."

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Summer is right around the corner, and for those of us who live in winter climates, those first sleeveless shirts and shorts days can expose shockingly white skin.

While you may be tempted to either use a tanning booth or jump right into the sun for a long day of lounging, please don't. Sun damage is cumulative, meaning that when your sunburn goes away, the damage to your skin does not.

Heading to a tanning salon is never a good idea. In 2009, the World Health Organization listed UV radiation as a carcinogen, meaning it is known to cause cancer.

My prescription: Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and make sure that it is water-resistant with an SPF of 30 or higher.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An 18-year-old man thought to have appendicitis ended up being treated for severe internal injuries after an intense paintball game, according to a new case study.

The unidentified patient came in with severe abdominal pain, no appetite and fever, which is consistent with appendicitis, according to the case study published Thursday in the BMJ medical journal by doctors from University Hospital in London.

However, after the teen was rushed to the operating room, doctors found that his appendix wasn't the problem and that his liver was lacerated and bleeding into his abdomen. Doctors were able to stop the bleeding by "repacking" the liver or applying a special pad and putting pressure on the organ overnight. The liver had to be repacked again the next day until the bleeding finally stopped.

After interviewing the patient, doctors discovered he had taken part in a paintball game two days before and reported being hit twice on his lower right-hand side, according to the case study.

"This represents the first report of paintball-related blunt traumatic injury to the liver," the doctors wrote in the study. "Solid organ injuries of this nature have only been reported three times previously." None of those cases involved liver damage.

The doctors pointed out that paintball pellets have caused serious injuries in the past.

"Pellets with muzzle velocities of 100–300 feet per second are potentially harmful to ocular structures and also to the intra-abdominal solid organs," the authors said. "Participants and physicians must both be aware of the possible dangers associated with this recreational sport."

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Courtesy Greenbrier Christian Academy(CHESAPEAKE, Va.) -- Virginia first-grader Anaya Ellick, 7, has such good handwriting, she beat out 50 other youngsters from around the country to win a national handwriting contest.

If that's not impressive enough, Little Anaya was born without hands.

"There is truly very little that this girl cannot do," principal Tracy Cox of Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake told ABC News, noting it was her idea to have Anaya enter the competition, open to students in kindergarten to eighth-grade.

"She is a hard worker," Cox said. "She is determined. She is independent. She is a vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady."

Anaya's penmanship was submitted in the category that encourages the participation of students with cognitive delays, and intellectual, psychical or developmental disabilities. This category is judged by a team of occupational therapists, and the winner is awarded the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Penmanship.

"We looked at her writing and were just stunned to see how well her handwriting was, considering she writes without hands," competition director Kathleen Wright told ABC News. "Her writing sample was comparable to someone who had hands.

Principal Cox said, "She truly has some of the neatest hardworking in her class.”

Anaya's peers treat her no differently than other students, and she keeps up with them, too, Greenbrier founder and superintendent Ron H. White told ABC News.

"I don't think Anaya thinks of it as an obstacle," he said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Major regulations for e-cigarettes and tobacco products announced this week may not do much to slow down the largest tobacco companies, analysts tell ABC News.

E-cigarettes will face new regulations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including requirements that affect manufacturing, ingredient labeling and not selling the product to those under the age of 18, the agency announced Thursday.

In addition, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation yesterday prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to anyone under age 21, up from 18, and restricting the use of e-cigarettes in public places in the state. The state also reclassified vapor products as tobacco.

The FDA's rules will especially affect the businesses of smaller e-cigarette makers, which may not have the resources to comply with the agency's approval process, said Michael Lavery, an analyst with Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia (CLSA) Americas in New York. Lavery said that "could be a positive" for larger tobacco companies, such as Altria Group, Reynolds-American and Imperial Brands, he wrote in a research note shared with ABC News. E-cigarettes currently make up less than 1 percent of revenue for all three companies, he noted.

In response to the FDA's regulations, Stifel analyst Chris Growe, who follows the tobacco industry, said the larger tobacco companies are already accustomed to numerous laws governing their products.

"We believe the large tobacco companies can thrive in a heavily regulated world, such as the current conditions in the cigarette category," Stifel analyst Chris Growe wrote in a research note provided to ABC News. "In addition, the level of regulation will be so high that small companies, those typically operating in the E-cig category and other tobacco category, will likely find them to be onerous."

He added: "We believe this will thwart new product innovation from many small companies and favor the large tobacco companies."

The rule extends the FDA's authority over any newly regulated product, including e-cigarettes, not on the market before Feb. 15, 2007. The new regulations will likely take time to be implemented, as the FDA expects that manufacturers will sell their products for up to two years before they submit their product for FDA review. It will take another year for the FDA to review an application once it's submitted.

Lavery said he expects Altria Group to challenge the ban on the company's use of the term "mild" on cigar products, including its Black & Mild brand cigars, which would become regulated after 90 days under the new regulations. Manufacturing cigars with the term would be banned after a one-year transition period. Still, cigars are less than 1 percent of Altria's volumes, Lavery pointed out.

A spokesman for Altria said the company is still reviewing the FDA’s regulations.

“We are concerned that FDA did not update the predicate date. FDA acknowledges that e-vapor products are ‘likely less hazardous’ for individuals compared to continued use of traditional cigarettes,” the spokesman said. “We continue to support legislation in Congress which would change the predicate date and also address other important issues such as setting battery standards and requiring that all e-vapor products be sold in a non-self-service fashion (with adult-only facility exception).”

The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, the trade group for the vaping industry, said the FDA's actions would ban 99 percent of all vapor products on the market as a result of the Feb. 2007 predicate date.

"Today’s [Thursday's] final rule pulls the rug out from the nine million smokers who have switched to vaping, putting them in jeopardy of returning back to smoking, which kills 480,000 Americans each year and costs the U.S. more than $300 billion in annual health care expenses," the trade association said. “These new regulations create an enormously cost-prohibitive regulatory process for manufacturers to market their products to adult smokers and vapers. It also limits access to the 40 million adult smokers in the U.S. yet to make the switch to vaping and cripples a multi-billion dollar job-creating industry, the majority of which are made of small businesses."

The trade group said the California law would negatively impact 1,400 vaping retail locations that are small businesses, "plus hundreds of manufacturers, distributors and related businesses that contribute to the state’s economy, generating taxes and thousands of jobs.”

“California took a step backwards today by reclassifying vapor products as tobacco," the trade association said in a statement. "Stigmatizing vapor products, which contain no tobacco and treating them the same as combustible tobacco while actively seeking to economically penalize smokers attempting to switch is counterproductive to public health. We ... will continue to work with the legislature, and voters, to educate them on what science says should be embraced as a far less harmful alternative to combustible cigarettes."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- E-cigarettes will face new regulations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including requirements that affect manufacturing, ingredient labeling and not selling the product to those under the age of 18, the agency announced Thursday.

The FDA announced a plan to regulate e-cigarettes two years ago, but these are the first concrete regulations issued. The new rules affect not only e-cigarettes but more traditional tobacco products, including cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah tobacco.

“We have more to do to help protect Americans from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine, especially our youth. As cigarette smoking among those under 18 has fallen, the use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, has taken a drastic leap. All of this is creating a new generation of Americans who are at risk of addiction,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement Thursday.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in the fight for a tobacco-free generation -- it will help us catch up with changes in the marketplace, put into place rules that protect our kids and give adults information they need to make informed decisions," Burwell said.

Federal officials framed the new regulations as a way to take on the rapidly increasing rates of e-cigarette usage among teens. The new regulations will affect the selling, marketing and manufacturing of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Newly announced prohibitions on selling e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco and cigars to people under 18 or giving free samples will start to be enforced within 90 days, according to the FDA.

Mitch Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products, a part of the FDA, likened the current e-cigarette marketplace to "the wild, wild west," pointing out that there have been reports of e-cigarettes exploding in recent months, causing burns on teens.

"Today is a first step, a foundational step, to bring all these previously unregulated products into the world of being regulated," Zeller said during a news conference Thursday.

Health officials have been concerned that teens and other young adults may view e-cigarettes as an alternative to cigarettes with a rising number of teens using e-cigarettes. A recent survey found current e-cigarette use among high school students has risen sharply, from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2015, according to the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An estimated three million middle and high school students were current e-cigarette users in 2015, according to the FDA. Data also showed high school boys smoked cigars at about the same rate as cigarettes.

To ensure compliance with new regulations, manufacturers of e-cigarettes will have to present their products to the FDA to meet public health standards. The new regulations include new requirements to report ingredients and any potentially harmful aspect of the product. Health warnings will be required on e-cigarette packages and ads and e-cigarette makers must register the places where their products are manufactured.

The new regulations will likely take time to be implemented, as the FDA expects that manufacturers will sell their products for up to two years before they submit their product for FDA review. It will take another year for the FDA to review the product the application.

Industry group Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association blasted the FDA for "essentially banning 99 percent of all vapor products" on the market due to requirements that any e-cigarette device introduced after Feb. 15, 2007, be submitted to the FDA for approval.

"Our industry has a long history of supporting sensible science-based regulations, including license requirements, as well as banning sales to minors and adopting child-resistant packaging," SFATA said in a statement. "Today’s final rule pulls the rug out from the nine million smokers who have switched to vaping, putting them in jeopardy of returning back to smoking, which kills 480,000 Americans each year and costs the U.S. more than $300 billion in annual health care expenses."

SFATA said the FDA review process will be costly and claimed that there is growing evidence that e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes.

“These new regulations create an enormously cost-prohibitive regulatory process for manufacturers to market their products to adult smokers and vapers," SFATA said.

While most of the regulations will not be implemented for years, prohibiting tobacco sales to those under 18 will start in 90 days. Burwell explained that currently "the absence of federal restriction means enforcement is uneven and sometimes non-existent" in preventing teens from buying e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Burwell called the regulations "common sense" actions to protect children from tobacco products.

"As a nation we have agreed for many years that nicotine does not belong in the hands of children," Burwell said during Thursday's new conference. "Progress has been made but the context has changed, we owe it to ourselves to do better."

Zeller said his group is working with state officials on plans to enforce the ban on sales to those under 18 and that they will "hit the ground running."

While regulations addressed many concerns of health officials, the FDA has not banned flavors in e-cigarettes. Flavored cigarettes were been banned in 2009 over concerns they may lead younger teens to smart smoking. Zeller said his group is monitoring how flavors affected users.

“As a physician, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating health effects of tobacco use,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, said in a statement. “At the FDA, we must do our job under the Tobacco Control Act to reduce the harms caused by tobacco. That includes ensuring consumers have the information they need to make informed decisions about tobacco use and making sure that new tobacco products for purchase come under comprehensive FDA review.”

Some health groups applauded by the move by the FDA, though others said they were disappointed the FDA didn't take further action.

The March of Dimes commended the FDA.

"E-cigarettes are clearly tobacco products, and they should be strictly regulated as such," March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer L. Howse said in a statement. "Lack of regulation has allowed these products to be marketed and sold without limits, including to pregnant women and youth."

The American Society of Clinical Oncology called the regulations a "crucial step" in regulating tobacco products and understanding the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes.

"Most importantly, we are concerned that e-cigarettes may encourage nonsmokers, particularly children, to start smoking and develop a nicotine addiction. FDA regulation will minimize the potential negative consequences of e-cigarettes and other ENDS [electronic nicotine delivery systems] without undermining their potential to reduce harm as a smoking cessation tool," the group said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also welcomed the regulations but called on the FDA to do more.

“More work must be done now as e-cigarettes become more and more common in households and communities across the country," the organization said in a statement Thursday. "FDA passed up critical opportunities in this rule by failing to prohibit the sale of tobacco products coming in flavors like cotton candy, gummy bear and grape or to prevent marketing tactics that target children. The Academy also looks forward to a law -- the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act -- taking effect this summer that will require child-resistant packaging on liquid nicotine containers.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics also welcomed the regulations but called on the FDA to do more.

“More work must be done now as e-cigarettes become more and more common in households and communities across the country," the organization said in a statement Thursday. "FDA passed up critical opportunities in this rule by failing to prohibit the sale of tobacco products coming in flavors like cotton candy, gummy bear and grape or to prevent marketing tactics that target children. The Academy also looks forward to a law -- the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act -- taking effect this summer that will require child-resistant packaging on liquid nicotine containers.”

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Humane Society of Tampa Bay(TAMPA BAY, Fla.) -- One paralyzed pup is still smiling, despite being abandoned on the doorstep of a Florida shelter.

"Even though she's had some very severe trauma to her spine, she's as sweet as can be," said Sherry Silk, CEO of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, a no-kill shelter in Tampa, Florida. "... She's bright, alert and she'll give you little kisses."

Silk told ABC News that on Monday morning, the shelter's maintenance worker discovered an animal crate on the property.

Inside was Genie, an estimated 2-and-a-half-year-old Cocker Spaniel mix, and attached to her cage was a note from the dog's previous owner.

It read: “Please help my Genie. Genie (her name) is paralyzed from I believe her hips to her hind legs. I tried to manage her pain with medication from her vet but they only ease her pain and she needs surgery. I cannot afford so I ask that the Animal Health Center heal her and find her a loving forever home. Thank you."

Silk said the shelter's veterinarian's are unsure as to how Genie became paralyzed, but suspect she may have fallen or gotten hit by a car.

In addition to her disability, Genie also has bladder issues that vets are now trying to treat, Silk said.

And although the pup was left behind, Silk said the Humane Society feels no ill will toward Genie's past owners.

"I know that had to be a hard decision to leave her in the middle of the night," she said. "We're doing our best to treat her now and believe with a combination of these medicines, that there will be enough improvements. There are are people that worry about handicapped animals, so I think we'll be able to find her a home."

Silk said the Humane Society of Tampa Bay has been asking for donations to get Genie a set of wheels.

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iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Just in time for World Hand Hygiene Day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is launching a new campaign Thursday urging medical professionals and patients to prevent healthcare-related infections by keeping their hands clean.

According to the CDC, an estimated 75,000 patients with these types of infections die each year in the hospital.

“Patients depend on their medical team to help them get well, and the first step is making sure healthcare professionals aren’t exposing them to new infections,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Clean hands really do count and in some cases can be a matter of life and death.”

Dr. Clifford McDonald, an epidemiologist, tells ABC News that hand hygiene is often overlooked in medical facilities.

"We know that right now, on average, healthcare providers clean their hands less than 50 percent of the times that we know they should be cleaning their hands," he says.

As part of the new campaign, the CDC wants patients and their loved ones to speak up.

“We know that patients can feel hesitant to speak up, but they are important members of the health care team and should expect clean hands from providers,” Arjun Srinivasan, the CDC’s associate director for healthcare-associated infection prevention programs, said in a statement. “We know that healthcare providers want the best for their patients, so we want to remind them that the simple step of cleaning their hands protects their patients.”

McDonald says health officials are recommending doctors use alcohol-based solutions before and after seeing a patient.

"These are so effective and they work so rapidly. They allow a higher margin for error in terms of doing it right," he explains.

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Colorectal cancer is not usually considered a disease of younger people, but that's changing. Over the past 20 years, colon cancer rates have increased significantly between the age of 20 and 50.

Quite often, younger people ignore the symptoms, like rectal bleeding, hemorrhoids or worse. Other times, a doctor may dismiss the symptoms, saying, "These people are just too young to have colon cancer."

While the cause of colon cancer remains unknown, doctors are taking a second look at how they diagnose younger patients.

Here's my prescription: Remember that most people who have rectal bleeding don't have cancer. Other symptoms include a change in bowel habits that last more than a few days or abdominal cramping.

The best prevention for colon cancer is not smoking, being physically active and eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits.

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merznatalia/iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- California Governor Jerry Brown signed a series of bills into law on Wednesday expanding restrictions on smoking cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.

The most notable of the bills will raise the minimum smoking age in the state of California to 21 from 18. That change makes California the second state in the country to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, behind Hawaii. Brown also signed bills that would restrict use of electronic cigarettes in public and expand non-smoking areas at public schools.

The Los Angeles Times quotes Democratic State Senator Ed Hernandez, who authored the bill, as calling the approval "a signal that California presents a united front against Big Tobacco. Together, we stand to disrupt the chain of adolescent addiction."

The bills were approved earlier in the year, and will become effective on June 9.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that about 90 percent of tobacco users start before the age of 21.

The bill does exempt active military personnel under the age of 21 from the age increase.

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Medic Image/Getty(NEW YORK) -- Scientists have reported they have grown human embryos in vitro for 12 to 13 days, significantly longer than the previous record of nine days.

If scientists are able to conduct experiments on embryos past 14 days, they may be able to "study all aspects of early human development with unprecedented precision," according to commentators on the two breakthrough studies published Wednesday in Nature and Nature Cell Biology.

Two groups of researchers were able to get embryos to grow for 12 days and 13 days, respectively. Both groups used similar cutting-edge technology in which chemicals and a special medium mimicked a human womb so that the embryos would continue to develop, researchers said.

Part of technology involved creating a method that allowed the embryo to attach in a manner similar to that way it would in the womb. The breakthrough technology also raises ethical questions that were highlighted in an accompanying commentary.

Many countries currently restrict experiments on embryos to the first 14 days. Additionally, the International Society for Stem Cell Research has issued guidelines advising researchers across the globe to stick with this 14-day window. The authors of the commentary point out that experiments reaching close to the 14-day rule may mean medical officials will eventually revise this guideline.

"The 14-day rule was never intended to be a bright line denoting the onset of moral status in human embryos," the authors wrote. "Rather, it is a public-policy tool designed to carve out a space for scientific inquiry and simultaneously show respect for the diverse views on human-embryo research."

The 14-days limit was set due to how an embryo develops, according to the commentary. After approximately two weeks, the embryo starts to develop more distinct structures that will usually develop into a fetus and placenta. The authors note that the timeline was picked to be sensitive to the different views on when "a human embryo obtains sufficient moral status that research on it should be prohibited."

Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist and head of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center, said the breakthroughs means the medical community will have to re-evaluate what is ethical when it comes to experimentation on embryos.

"What is that entity?" asked Caplan, who was not involved in these studies. "Many people believe that it is a full person from conception, but it will renew that debate."

Caplan pointed out that medical officials will have to grapple with the fact that embryonic experimentation past 14 days could lead to important results that help many pregnancies in the future.

"How far can you go with embryo research and how far can you go with editing the genes of embryos to repair them?" Caplan told ABC News. "All of this is in play in the same time."

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