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Open Access Review

Selection of the appropriate method for the assessment of insulin resistance

Anwar Borai12*, Callum Livingstone34, Ibrahim Kaddam1 and Gordon Ferns5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, King Khalid National Guard Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

2 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center-Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

3 Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, UK

4 Clinical Biochemistry Department, Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, UK

5 Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, University of Keele, UK

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2011, 11:158  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-158

Published: 23 November 2011


Insulin resistance is one of the major aggravating factors for metabolic syndrome. There are many methods available for estimation of insulin resistance which range from complex techniques down to simple indices. For all methods of assessing insulin resistance it is essential that their validity and reliability is established before using them as investigations. The reference techniques of hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp and its alternative the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test are the most reliable methods available for estimating insulin resistance. However, many simple methods, from which indices can be derived, have been assessed and validated e.g. homeostasis model assessment (HOMA), quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI). Given the increasing number of simple indices of IR it may be difficult for clinicians and researchers to select the most appropriate index for their studies. This review therefore provides guidelines and advices which must be considered before proceeding with a study.