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one might become outdated as soon as it is published!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.