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Insulin Resistance: Insulin Action and its Disturbances in Disease

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Hormone resistance syndromes are typically thought of as rare, usually genetic, disorders with a severe but relatively stereotyped clinical and biochemical profile. While there are syndromes of severe insulin resistance that conform to this description, defective insulin action is of much more pervasive biomedical importance. Even moderate degrees of insulin resistance are closely linked to a range of common diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, obesity and hypertension. Not surprisingly, in recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in interest within the medical and scientific community in understanding the causes, consequences and treatment of insulin resistance. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, we are now witnessing a revolution in unravelling the molecular mechanism of insulin action and in understanding the molecular basis for the various syndromes associated with insulin resistance. Secondly, we are now seeing a global epidemic of Type 2 diabetes that may pose a major threat to international public health. Thirdly, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are investing heavily in the development of new drugs that can improve insulin action. Therefore, we believe that the publication of this book is timely.

There is considerable literature available on the subject of insulin resistance. A recent search on Medline revealed more than 20,000 articles on this subject. This information is readily accessible and one might argue that a book such as this one might become outdated as soon as it is published! One guiding principle for this book was, therefore, to bring to the reader not only a synthesis of important information, but also the wisdom of leading researchers and clinicians who are recognised as leaders in their own fields.
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