Teratology: My main interests are as follows:
1. Animal models of the effects of teratogenic agents during pregnancy. I carried out studies on the effects of maternal diabetes on embryonic and fetal development with emphasis on the role of oxidative stress, and prevented the damage by antioxidants. Similar studies were also carried out on rat embryos in cultures. In the last years we study a mouse model of autism like behavior induced by perinatal valproic acid (VPA) and possible prevention by concomitant administration the methyl donor S-adenosine methionine (SAM). VPA induces gender -related ASD like behavior and changes in gene expression in the prefrontal cortex of mice. SAM corrected these abnormalities by reversing both the ASD like behavioral changes and the changes in gene expression. SAM administered to pregnant mice, but not postnatally, induced significant changes in gene expression in the prefrontal cortex of the neonates.
2. Developmental studies in children: We studied the developmental outcome in children exposed during pregnancy to different teratogenic environments, as follows: Children born to mothers with pregestational or gestational diabetes, children born to heroin- addicted mothers, children born to mothers taking antiepileptic drugs or different psychotropic drugs. In the last few years we also conducted studies on the epidemiology, etiology, diagnosis and cost-benefit of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD) in Israel.
We continue to carry out studies in these two main areas of experimental and clinical teratology and of child development.