The importance of neuronal cell death during development and in human disease is now unquestioned. The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in and knowledge about the mechanisms underlying neuronal cell death, and for good reason; as it becomes increasingly clear that cell death is often an active highly regulated process that relies on the activities of specific genes and proteins, we face the exciting possibility of exploiting this pathway for therapeutic purposes. The amount of new knowledge on the topic of cell death is bewildering, even for those who study it. The editors of this volume have set for themselves the challenging task of providing a comprehensive survey of neuronal cell death that covers basic mechanisms, their relevance to specific disease states, and potential therapeutic approaches based on our growing understanding of the mechanisms of cell death.
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