Prof. Nurit Yirmiya
1. Developmental Trajectories of Preterm Infants and their association with prenatal, perinatal and neonatal characteristics. This is a prospective, longitudinal study of high-risk group of preterm infants who are followed from birth until the child's 3rd birthday. We are exploring the early signs and developmental trajectories of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in premature infants, concurrently taking into account various biological (prenatal, perinatal and postnatal) and psychological (parenting characteristics) risk and protective factors accounting for the children's developmental outcomes and well-being.
2. The associations between perinatal, postnatal and genetic factors and developmental characteristics of young children. There is strong contribution of heredity in risk for Autism and other developmental disorders, environmental influences such as perinatal factors have also long term effect on development. We are investigating the interaction between genotype (both fetal and parental) and various prenatal risk factors (i.e. prematurity, neonatal illness, medical interventions) in conferring risk for ASD and deficits in affect, social cognition and communication in non-clinical participants.
3. Characteristics of the Broad Autism Phenotype (BAP) in Siblings of Children with Autism SIBS-A). Two groups, SIBS-A and a group of siblings of children with typical development (SIBS-TD) were followed prospectively from infancy to early childhood. Participants were seen from infancy to age 10 years. Most siblings are well-functioning based on our measures, however a subgroup of SIBS-A is manifesting difficulties in cognition and/or language, and\or social-emotional functioning. The nature of stability and change over time were examined using growth curve analyses to delineate developmental trajectories of SIBS-A and assist in the identification of clinically relevant predictive behavioral markers associated with the onset of characteristics associated with broad autism phenotype (BAP). We are currently writing the results of this study.