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Methods for clinical assessment of insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function.

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Metabolic Modeling Unit, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Research Council, Padua, Italy.


The quantitative assessment of insulin sensitivity (IS) and beta-cell function (BCF) is fundamental in the study of metabolic disorders. The most relevant experimental tests and data analysis methods for assessing both IS and BCF are described and their characteristic features discussed. Advantages and limitations of each method are comparatively reviewed to help investigators choose the most suitable test for their needs. The problem of properly relating BCF to IS is also addressed. Particular attention is paid to the oral glucose tolerance test, which has recently received considerable interest. The role of mathematical models in IS and BCF assessment is also emphasized.

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