Overview of Interests
Behavioral teratology and developmental psychopathology research seek to identify specific causes, mechanisms, and effects of developmental deviations and are rapidly emerging fields at the intersection of developmental psychology and neuroscience. Our clinical studies from the behavioral teratological perspective have focused on quantitative cognitive outcomes and report significant potential for prenatal cigarette exposure to negatively impact cognitive control, especially in young children. We found that prenatal cigarette exposure was associated with changes in attention in young children in a large prospective study that carefully controlled for many of the potential confounding variables. Recently, our early assessments have focused on cognitive outcomes with established relevance to the neuropathology of ADHD. The success of these assessments in detecting prenatal toxicological studies demonstrates their potential for testing the genetic and environmental interactions that may underlie cognitive dysfunction of ADHD. The prospective design of our research presents a unique opportunity to consider variables which modify relationship between family risk and early developmental delay and the degree to which early difficulties predict later dysfunction.
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