Web focuses

A Web Focus is a collection of articles on a related theme. With content ranging from Research Highlights through to Reviews and Perspectives, a Web Focus provides a panoramic view of a key area of biology.



Parkinson disease


Parkinson disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that is clinically diagnosed by its motor features and characterized by loss of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra (pars compacta), which is thought to start years before clinical symptoms manifest. Understanding the causes and underlying mechanisms of cell loss in this disorder will be crucial to prevent or to halt neuronal loss and disease progression. In recent years, an enormous amount of basic and clinical research has revealed many important molecular and cellular changes associated with this disease. 2017 marks the 200th anniversary since James Parkinson published An Essay on the Shaking Palsy. To mark this event, Nature Reviews Disease Primers, Nature Reviews Neuroscience and Nature Reviews Neurology present this collection of articles about cutting-edge basic and clinical research into Parkinson disease.



Chronic pain


Sponsored by the NIH Pain Consortium

Chronic pain is estimated to affect over one-quarter of the world's population, and presents a considerable therapeutic challenge. This Nature Collection brings together articles from Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Reviews Neurology and Nature Reviews Neuroscience that highlight recent advances towards understanding the risk factors and mechanisms that underlie chronic pain, and developing effective, non-addictive treatments for this highly prevalent condition.





Sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Addiction incurs enormous medical, economic and social costs. The currently available pharmacotherapies for addiction are only moderately effective, which further emphasizes the need to improve our understanding of the changes that are induced in the brain by addictive substances. This Focus issue features five articles that discuss recent insights into the neurobiology of addiction — from the molecular to the behavioural level — and highlight the importance of these findings for the development of new treatments.



CNS evolution


With support from the Wellcome Trust

Evolutionary biology seeks to reconstruct the ancestral relationship among organisms and the pathways that led to the enormous variety of biological forms. This focus issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience celebrates the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth and the publication of On the Origin of Species 150 years ago. The articles in this special issue discuss the molecular, cellular and structural changes that have contributed to CNS evolution and the functional consequences of these changes.




Everyone experiences stress occasionally, but severe or chronic stress can have long-lasting effects on brain structure and function. This Focus issue highlights the latest advances in our understanding of how the brain responds to stress, the mechanisms that mediate the beneficial and adverse effects of stress on brain functioning, and factors that confer vulnerability and resilience to stress.



Nerve Regeneration


Sponsored by Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation

Since the surprising finding that injured axons in the mature central nervous system can re-grow, there has been dramatic progress in our understanding of the molecular, cellular and circuitry level responses to injuries to the adult mammalian central nervous system. This special Focus issue highlights recent developments in this field, with a view to understanding the underlying mechanisms that will enable the development of appropriate therapeutic strategies.





Sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim

The essential element in pain is the activation of specialized high-threshold receptors to warn the organism of potential tissue damage. This sensory signal is followed, at least in humans, by a less well-defined but strong emotional experience � we are irresistably driven to stop the pain or escape from the stimulus that causes it.





Sponsored by Astrazeneca

Written by leaders in the field, this Focus provides an authoritative update on the cellular processes that are common to the most frequently observed diseases of the brain, and points to some of the approaches that are being pursued to treat these devastating conditions.



Sensory Systems


Neurons that fire high-frequency bursts of spikes are found in various sensory systems. Although the functional implications of burst firing might differ from system to system, bursts are often thought to represent a distinct mode of neuronal signalling.


Cognitive NeuroscienceUpdated


In the past three decades, cognitive neuroscience has become an important force in humanity's efforts to understand itself. To celebrate this diverse and exciting field, we bring you this special focus issue on cognitive neuroscience.



Ion channel structureUpdated


Some might argue that there is not much neuroscience left in the study of ion channels when the key experiments are carried out at the synchrotron and their interpretation involves atomic coordinates instead of picoamperes. But the truth is that crystallographic analysis has opened our eyes to new principles of channel function and is beginning to answer questions that neuroscientists have been asking for a long time.



Neural developmentUpdated


The adult brain is undoubtedly fascinating, but developmental neuroscientists are more concerned with the journey that brings it to this state than with the destination itself. In fact, it might be argued that the journey never really ends because neuronal circuits in the brain are continually modified throughout life.