This book is the result of the 20th International Summer School in Brain Research, organized in August 1997 in Amsterdam, by the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. It is the first book that provides a complete overview of the field of neurodegeneration and regeneration including spinal cord injury, neurodegenerative diseases and therapy. Divided into five sections, the first two sections give an overview of fundamental research on nerve cell death, neuronal survival, neurite outgrowth and guidance. Extensive attention is given to the role of neurotrophins, their receptor tyrosine kinases and cell-adhesion molecules in development and regeneration of the nervous system. The third section of the book is devoted to research involving human neurodegenerative diseases and emerging treatment strategies. Section four focusses on recent advances in the understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases along with prion diseases. Novel insights into the neuropathological hallmarks of these diseases, as well as into transgenic animal models, the involvement of environmental factors, and genomic and mRNA changes that can cause neurodegeneration. The final section of this volume reveals recent developments in the use of cell and gene therapy to treat neurodegenerative disease and lesion-related deficits. Implantation of genetically modified cells, direct gene transfer with viral vectors and the first clinical trials with encapsulated genetically modified cells in patients suffering from amyotrophic lateral scelerosis are examples of new therapeutic strategies treating neurodegenerative diseases.
The book is of particular interest to departments of neuroscience, neurological clinics and departments, the pharmalogical industry and medical libraries.