Focuses and supplements


Nature Neuroscience periodically publishes special supplements and focuses on timely topics of particular interest. This page provides an index of the different supplements and focuses that we have released over the past few years.


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2017

Focus on Spatial Cognition

Focus on Spatial Cognition

Navigation is the ability to estimate one's own position and to track and plan one's own path in physical space, be it on land, on sea, in the air or even in space. From an evolutionary perspective, navigation is key to survival, as it helps animals to find food and mates and to avoid threats. In mammals, the hippocampal formation hosts the so-called place, head direction and grid cells, the building blocks of an internal representation of space that guides navigation. In our November 2017 issue, Nature Neuroscience presents a series of reviews and opinion pieces on the theme of spatial cognition. These articles cover a broad range of topics, from the basic cellular mechanisms that contribute to the formation of a cognitive map of space to the use of this internal map for navigation in humans and how the underlying processes may serve other cognitive functions.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 20, No. 11


Focus on human brain mapping

Focus on human brain mapping

The molecular, cellular and circuit-level mechanisms that underlie the brain's control over perception and action have been investigated primarily in animal models. Noninvasive technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG), have allowed neuroscientists to complement these findings with measures of human brain responses to complex behaviors. Nature Neuroscience presents a special issue focused on the latest developments in human brain mapping, outlining sophisticated approaches that bridge the gap between human and animal research and provide a more complete picture of the brain.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 20, No. 3


Focus on Neuroimmune communication

Focus on neuroimmune communication

The nervous and immune systems communicate and reciprocally influence their functional responses. Nature Immunology and Nature Neuroscience present a joint focus entailing a series of specially commissioned review articles that discuss how the nervous system and immune cells interact during development, homeostasis and in pathogenic disease states.

February Vol. 18, No. 2 (Nature Immunology)

February Vol. 20, No. 2 (Nature Neuroscience)


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2016

Focus on Psychiatric Disorders

Psychiatric Disorders

Compared to other areas in medicine, psychiatric research faces unique biological, technological, clinical, regulatory and ethical challenges. In this joint focus Nature Neuroscience and Nature Medicine provide a collection of Commentaries, Perspectives, and Reviews from leaders in the field that address these challenges and provide an authoritative overview of basic and clinical sciences advancing mental health research.

Produced with support of a grant from Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 19, No. 11

Focus on the neuroscience toolbox

Focus on the neuroscience toolbox

The pace of technological development in neuroscience is accelerating, providing researchers with powerful new tools to drive their experiments and ask new questions. Keeping up with this wave of new technology can be challenging, and decisions about which tools to use and how best to use them can be difficult. Nature Neuroscience presents a special focus issue on the neuroscience toolbox highlighting recent technological advances, approaches and collaborative initiatives that are enabling new avenues of research.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 19, No. 9


Produced with support from The Kavli Foundation.

Focus on stress

Focus on neural computation and theory

Advances in neuroscience research cannot progress without data collection. But we also require sophisticated ways of assembling and synthesizing these data into broader frameworks. Theoretical neuroscience, along with the requisite computational techniques, serves to ensure that our endeavors are more than large-scale stamp collecting. In this issue, Nature Neuroscience presents a series of reviews and perspectives that highlight the current thinking on topics that range from neural circuits and networks to cognitive estimation and psychiatric illness.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 19, No. 3

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2015

Focus on stress

Focus on stress

Stress serves an important purpose in maintaining health, but prolonged or severe stress can be harmful, particularly to the central nervous system. Nature Neuroscience presents a special issue focused on how stress affects brain function, behavior, and the development of psychiatric diseases, via a series of reviews and perspectives written by leaders in the field.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 18, No. 10

ChR2: Anniversary Issue

ChR2 Anniversary

Ten years ago, channelrhodopsin-2 was expressed in neurons and shown to control their activity. In this issue, we consider how the field has developed since these early optogenetic experiments.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 18, No. 9

Focus on epilepsy

Epilepsy

Nature Neuroscience presents a special focus issue on the topic of Epilepsy which, through a series of reviews and opinionated articles from key leaders in the field, aims to highlight many of the most recent and informative research which has expanded our understanding of the pathogenic events which lead to aberrant brain activity and the molecular and circuit-level mechanisms that regulate neuronal excitability.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 18, No. 3

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2014

Focus on big data

Big Data

Big data projects in the neurosciences have been increasing in number in recent years. Nature Neuroscience presents a collection of Reviews, Perspectives and Commentaries that discuss different kinds of big data in neuroscience, from epigenomics to connectomics and whole-brain activity recordings to big behavioral data. The authors of these pieces tackle tough questions that have come to the forefront during this era of big data, including whether big data will completely change the way neuroscience is done, how much insight will be gained from big data, and what are the best ways to go about conducting such projects.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 17, No. 11

Focus on neurogenomics

Neurogenomics

Advances in genomics is accelerating the pace of discovery in all areas of biology and medicine including psychiatry. Neuroscientists are now inundated with information implicating hundreds of regions across the genome that harbor rare and common risk variants for disorders of the brain. Navigating this data deluge and translating it into biological and mechanistic insights remains a formidable challenge. In this special Nature Neuroscience issue on neurogenomics, we present a series of perspectives and reviews by leading experts on the latest genomic methods, their recent discoveries in psychiatry and neurology and their implication for and application to neuroscience.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 17, No. 6

Focus on pain

Pain

Pain can be defined simply as the subjective experience of harm in a part of one's body. However, there are multiple forms of pain, including nociceptive and inflammatory pain, that involve a complex set of biological processes. Although the pain system has an important physiological role in preserving the integrity of the body, it can sometimes become dysfunctional and generate prolonged pain states in the absence of noxious stimuli or injuries. Unfortunately, many pathological pain conditions remain poorly understood and resist currently available treatments. Developing new therapeutic approaches to managing pain will undoubtedly depend on a better understanding of the molecular, cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying acute and chronic pain states. In this special Nature Neuroscience issue on pain, we present a series of reviews by experts in the field that critically appraise recent research on the neurobiology of pain and itch.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 17, No. 2

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2013

Focus on neurotechniques

Neurotechniques

Technology has expanded horizons in a wide range of scientific fields and neuroscience is no exception. In the past five years, the number of abstracts describing new methods or technology development that were presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting increased by nearly 50 percent. As neuroscientists capitalize on recent technological innovations, they stand poised to make unprecedented progress. In this issue, we present an array of review articles sampling some of the most exciting recent advances in techniques used across the field of neuroscience.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 16, No. 7

Focus on Memory

Memory

Memories provide a link between the present and the past and allow us to project our thoughts into the future. But memories are not immutable; instead, they continually evolve throughout their lifetime, embarking on a dynamic journey the moment they are born. Recent Neuroscience research has provided important new insights into how memories change in time, the mechanisms by which these changes come about and about the nature of the underlying neural representations, sometimes offering promises for the treatment of memory disorders. Nature Neuroscience presents a focus on memory, comprising Commentaries, Reviews and Perspectives discussing some of the most exciting recent developments and emerging ideas in our understanding of the neurobiology of learning and memory.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 16, No. 2

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2012

Focus on Neural Control of Feeding

Neural Control of Feeding

The increasing prevalence of obesity has added a degree of urgency to research into how and why humans overeat and become obese. Although obesity and metabolic syndrome are often seen as diseases of the body, the central nervous system plays an important role in regulating feeding behavior and metabolism. Neuroscience research has provided insight into the role the central nervous system plays in the regulation of feeding behavior, and how disruption of such regulation might lead to obesity. Nature Neuroscience presents a special focus issue including reviews examining how central regulation of feeding is influenced by genetics, peripheral factors, and previous experience, and how reward circuits affect feeding behavior.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 15, No. 10

Focus on Neuro-Immune Interactions

Neuro-Immune Interactions

Damage or disease in the nervous system is often accompanied by inflammation and an immunological response which requires a carefully choreographed and reciprocal interplay between the neural and immune systems. Recent work examining these interactions has begun to shed some light on the molecular mechanisms and circuitry which regulate how the brain responds to and, in some cases, modulates inflammation. Nature Neuroscience presents a special focus issue on neuro-immune interactions which highlights some of the most recent and interesting research aimed at understanding the relationship between neural processes and immune reactions via a series of reviews or opinionated articles commissioned from key leaders in the field.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 15, No. 8

Focus on Social Neuroscience

Social Neuroscience

How does the brain implement social processes and behavior, and how do these processes in turn modify the brain? Even though human beings are fundamentally a social species, this is an area that has traditionally been ignored by neuroscience, perhaps because interactions with complex social processes can be difficult to dissect and study in a lab setting. However, recent human neuroimaging and non-human animal work provides an insight into how the brain and social behavior interact, to influence things ranging from physical and mental health to how deviation from social norms is punished. In this special issue on social neuroscience, we present reviews, perspectives and commentaries summarizing some of the most current research in the field.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 15, No. 5

Jon Driver

Jon Driver 4 July 1962 – 28 November 2011

Jon Driver, who was one of the world’s leading cognitive neuroscientists, died at the relatively young age of 49. However, during his lifetime, his work significantly enriched our understanding of how the brain works, and this collection includes his seminal work published in Nature Neuroscience and its sister journals. His colleagues Geraint Rees and Ray Dolan describe his career and his many achievements in an accompanying obituary.

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2011

Neurovascular interactions

Neurovascular interactions

Blood vessels in the nervous system are not simply neutral bystanders that only support the changing needs of neurons. Nature Neuroscience presents a focus on neurovascular interactions that highlight our emerging knowledge of how these interactions shape neuronal function both in health and disease. The focus includes reviews and perspectives written by experts in the field discussing how blood vessels and angiogenic molecules actively participate in the pathogenesis of various neurological disorders. Reviews also critically evaluate our advances in understanding how blood vessels interact with neural stem and progenitor cells, brain tumor interactions with the neurovasculature, and the consequences for disease when these interactions are affected.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 14, No. 11

Computational and Systems Neuroscience

Computational and Systems Neuroscience

Integrating theoretical and experimental approaches to studying the brain can provide greater insight than either approach in isolation. This focus contains primary research articles representing some of the best work presented at the 2010 Computational and Systems Neuroscience (Cosyne) meeting as well as commissioned reviews and perspectives featuring the power of combining theoretical and experimental techniques for probing brain function.

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 14, No. 2

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2010

Neural Stem Cells

Neural Stem Cells Poster

Neural stem cells build the entire nervous system of a developing animal. Some neural stem cells remain active in adult mammals, and much current research effort is aimed at harnessing them for therapies of nervous system injury and neurodegenerative diseases. The poster is available thanks to support from StemCell Technologies (www.stemcell.com).

Nature Neuroscience Vol. 13, No. 12, December 2010

Epigenetics

Epigenetics

Life experiences affect behavior, in part by altering DNA via epigenetic modifications. These epigenetic changes include histone or chromatin modifications and can silence genes or make them easier to read. Recently, neuroscientists have also begun to explore epigenetic mechanisms to help explain the influence of experiences on not only long-term behavior, but also on neural development and function. Nature Neuroscience presents a special focus on this growing field of neural epigenetics consisting of commentaries, perspectives and reviews. These articles highlight the latest advances in our understanding of these epigenetic mechanisms, their regulation and their role in the nervous system.

November Vol. 13, No. 11

Neurodegeneration

Neurodegeneration

Collectively, neurodegenerative diseases share the common theme of uncontrollable neuronal loss in the brain which eventually results in progressive cognitive impairment and locomotor deficits. How and where these devastating degenerations strike—and possible avenues for therapeutic intervention—have been an intense focus of neuroscience research. Nature Neuroscience presents a special focus issue on neurodegeneration consisting of reviews and perspectives that highlight the latest advances in our understanding of pathological mechanisms, and the possibility of harnessing this information for translational research.

July Vol. 13, No. 7

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2009

Hearing

Hearing

Nature Neuroscience presents a special focus issue on hearing, which covers recent advances in genetics, clinical treatment and neuroscience which have advanced our understanding of how sounds are translated into neural signals and processed to support functions such as language.

June Vol. 12, No. 6

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2008

Neurogenesis

Developing the brain

Subtle abnormalities during birth, proliferation, migration, phenotypic maturation and wiring of CNS neurons may contribute to mental retardation, schizophrenia, and autism-spectrum disorders, necessitating a detailed understanding of developmental mechanisms. Brain "development", we also know, is not finished after adolescence. In this Web Focus we present a collection of papers highlighting the latest progress in the field, published over the course of the last year by Nature Neuroscience and other journals in the Nature Publishing Group family.

Glia and disease

Decision making

The ability to make appropriate choices is critical for survival. Successful decision making requires the integration of sensory information, motivational states and potential outcomes to select the best action. Recently, there has been great progress in our understanding of the neural mechanisms supporting decision making in a wide range of contexts, including risky choices and social interactions. This special focus on decision making contains four reviews that highlight recent achievements in this important field.

April Vol. 11, No. 4

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2007

Glia and disease

Glia and Disease

Glia are critical to many brain disorders. Glial cells regulate brain vasculature and the blood-brain barrier, modulating ischemia and blood flow changes in response to neural activity. Moreover, they are important in brain repair after injury and contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. This special focus on glia and disease contains four reviews and two perspectives that highlight recent research in these areas and discuss how advances in understanding glial biology may lead to new treatments.

November Vol. 10, No. 11

Emotion and Disorders of Emotion

Emotion and Disorders of Emotion

Individual quality of life depends on the ability to experience emotions appropriately and to regulate them in response to stressful events. In addition, depression and anxiety are a substantial public health burden.This special focus contains four reviews and a perspective from leaders in the field, who discuss how the brain regulates emotions, how this regulation becomes impaired by disorders of emotion and which therapies may be effective in treating these disorders.

September Vol. 10, No. 9


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2006

Childhood Developmental Disorders

Childhood Developmental Disorders

Nature Neuroscience presents a special focus on childhood developmental disorders, which contains four perspectives exploring the overlap between normal and abnormal development, as well as the commonalties between different disorders. Disorders covered include autism, specific language impairment, dyslexia, and the mental retardation syndrome fragile X. Thanks to generous support from our sponsors, the March of Dimes, Autism Speaks and Cure Autism Now, this focus will be freely available online through December 2006.

October Vol. 9, No. 10


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2005

Computational and Systems Neuroscience

Computational and Systems Neuroscience

To understand the brain, theoretical and experimental approaches must be integrated to make sense of the enormous amount of existing data, and to guide future experiments. In the December 2005 issue, we present a special focus on computational and systems neuroscience. Along with commissioned perspectives, the focus contains primary research articles featuring the best work presented at Cosyne, a meeting that rings together a diverse group of theoretical and experimental neuroscientists.

December Vol. 8, No. 12


Neurobiology of Addiction

Neurobiology of Addiction

This focus contains a series of specially commissioned reviews and perspectives on the neurobiology of drug abuse, decision making and habit formation, as well as a commentary on how these basic science insights should guide public policy on addiction and its treatment. Thanks to generous support from our sponsors, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, this focus will be freely available online through January 2006.

November Vol. 8, No. 11


Feeding Regulation and Obesity

Feeding Regulation and Obesity

Food intake and body weight are subject to complex regulation by the hypothalamus and other brain centers. This focus presents six commissioned articles highlighting current progress in the neurobiology of feeding regulation, energy metabolism and obesity. It is sponsored by the Obesity Research Task Force of the National Institutes of Health, and freely accessible through July 2005.

May Vol. 8, No. 5


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2004

The Sexual Brain

The Sexual Brain

This focus examines the sexual development and differentiation of the brain, as well as the brain circuits behind pair bonding, a sex-associated social behavior. An accompanying commentary raises ethical issues that must be considered when studying such a complex (and controversial) topic as human sexuality. These articles are freely available for the month of October.

October Vol. 7, No. 10


Scaling up Neuroscience

Scaling up Neuroscience

These Perspectives critically appraise high-throughput methods such as proteomics, microarrays and multiple-electrode recording, and evaluate the current and future database resources that such studies require. They are freely available with help from the NIH.

May Vol. 7, No. 5


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2003

Music and the Brain

Music and the Brain

Music is a universal feature of human societies, but its adaptive function remains mysterious. These six Reviews discuss how the brain processes music, and how this research influences our understanding of cognition.

July Vol. 6, No. 7


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2002

Beyond the Bench: the Practical Promise of Neuroscience

Beyond the Bench: the Practical Promise of Neuroscience

This supplement grew out of our curiosity about how neuroscience has contributed to improving the quality of people's lives. Fifteen review articles discuss recent progress toward a variety of practical applications of basic neuroscience, including memory enhancement, brain-computer interfaces, biotechnology of taste and smell, virtual reality, face recognition software, spinal cord injury and many others. In addition, five commentaries suggest ways to optimize the transfer of basic research to uses outside the laboratory. This special issue was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

November Vol. 5, Issue 11s


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2001

Molecular Approaches to Neural Development

Molecular Approaches to Neural Development

The events that transform a single cell into a fully developed individual with a complex nervous system have fascinated biologists for centuries. Advances in molecular biology, genomics and imaging have moved the investigation of development into the molecular realm and allowed researchers to follow cellular events in living animals. This special issue of Nature Neuroscience, sponsored by Cogent Neuroscience Inc., reviews recent progress in molecular approaches to developmental neuroscience. Cover images courtesy of R.W. K_r and S.E. Fraser.

November Vol. 4, Issue 11s


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2000

Computational Approaches to Brain Function

Computational Approaches to Brain Function

This supplement contains eight specially commissioned review articles, in which leading experts discuss the application of computational modeling to a range of problems in contemporary neuroscience; topics include dendritic processing, stabilization of neuronal firing rates, short term memory, sensorimotor transformations, object recognition, control of movement, cerebellar function and attention. In addition to the reviews, the supplement contains six History pieces, which highlight some of the most influential theoretical models of the previous half-century, and six Viewpoints, in which prominent theoretical and experimental neuroscientists offer their personal views on the proper role of modeling in neuroscience.

November Vol. 3, Issue 11s

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