- The role of thyroid hormone in fetal and neonatal brain development.
- Structural and functional neuroimaging studies of children with fetal/neonatal thyroid hormone insufficiencies.
- Structural and functional neuroimaging studies of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
- Thyroid hormone and visual development.
- Hypothyroxinemia of prematurity and child outcome.
- Social and behavioural consequences of fetal alcohol exposure
- Neuroanatomic characteristics of atypical pubertal development
A primary focus of Rovet's research program is studying children who were exposed to insufficient levels of thyroid hormone during fetal life and early infant development. This includes studies of children with congenital hypothyroidism, offspring of women with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism during pregnancy, and children born preterm whose early neonatal thyroid hormone levels are also evaluated. These children are studies for memory, and visual processing deficits using classical neuropsychological and laboratory-based tasks with special emphasis on memory systems. In addition, children with congenital hypothyroidism or maternal hypothyroidism are undergoing MRI studies to measure structural abnormalities of selective brain regions as well as magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) diffusion tensor imaging, voxel-based morphometry, and functional neuroimaging.
Studies of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders include defining the neurobehavioural phenotype, developing a screening instrument to diagnose FASD, and structural and functional neuroimaging studies. The latter serves to elucidate brain abnormalities in memory systems and the processing of social information.