This special issue of NeuroToxicology presents peer-reviewed papers based on presentations at the Nineteenth International Neurotoxicology Conference.

The 19th meeting in the International Neurotoxicology Conference Series (NTX XIX) was held August 25-28, 2001 at the DoubleTree Hotel World Arena nestled in the breathtaking landscape of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Approximately 250 participants from academia, government, private foundations, and industry traveled from thirteen different countries to participate in this conference which focused on the theme of Parkinson's Disease, Environment and Genes.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a devastating and complex disease that progressively affects the control of movement and also produces a wide range of other problems for patients. The symptoms reflect the gradual loss of nerve cells in particular areas of the brain. Among these, cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine die in a small brain area called the substantia nigra. We do not know what triggers the death of nerve cells in most people with Parkinson's disease. We know that some people inherit the disease while others acquire disease from other causes. There is recent and increasing evidence of interaction between environmental exposures and genetic susceptibility in the etiology of PD.

The 19th International Neurotoxicology Conference had five specific aims:

Specific Aims
Aim 1: To convene the identified international experts and other researchers anywhere in the world to present, discuss and evaluate the most recent research and information concerning the causes, mechanisms, diagnosis, and treatment of parkinsonism and related neurodegenerative disorders.
Aim 2: To encourage and enhance communication, understanding and collaboration between clinicians, basic scientists, clinical researchers, epidemiologists, special interest groups, risk assessors and others working to further our understanding of all aspects of parkinsonism, especially the causal relationship between genes and environment.
Aim 3: To organize the Program in a logical and orderly fashion to examine the issues, document research advances and identify specific research gaps.
Aim 4: To facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and foster or initiate new multidisciplinary research approaches to advance the science related to the theme.
Aim 5: To rapidly peer-review and disseminate findings to the scientific community.

All presenters were invited to submit original research papers of new data as well as brief communications, positions papers, commentaries, reviews, or summaries of recent findings related to the specific topics addressed at the meeting. Papers were peer-reviewed and rapidly published in NeuroToxicology (Volume 23, Issues 4-5 , October 2002), an international scientific journal that is widely disseminated, indexed, abstracted, cross-referenced and available online.

Specific Aims 1-4 were achieved by convening the world's experts and organizing the conference via our traditional and successful format of Tutorials, Invited Plenaries, Research Presentations from Platform and Poster, Roundtable Discussions, Workshops and Focused Discussion Groups. The fifth aim is achieved by publication of this issue as well as a special section in an earlier issue of NeuroToxicology. The complete NTX XIX Meeting Report, Program, Abstracts, Session Summaries and Research Needs were published in NeuroToxicology 22(6): 829888, 2001.