Measurement of insulin action: a tribute to Sir Harold Himsworth

Diabet Med. 2011 Dec;28(12):1487-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03409.x.


Sir Harold Himsworth was a renowned clinician and researcher. Among his myriad of accomplishments, he was the first to differentiate diabetes mellitus into 'insulin-sensitive' and 'insulin-insensitive' forms. To help distinguish these two types, he developed the first test to measure insulin sensitivity, the insulin-glucose test. This article reviews Himsworth's pioneer methods and subsequent advances in the measurement of insulin action. The advantages and limitations of commonly used methods to assess insulin sensitivity are also examined.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / history
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Glucose Clamp Technique* / history
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*


  • Blood Glucose

Personal name as subject

  • Harold Himsworth