Endocrine disorders, primarily diseases of the thyroid, parathyroids, pituitary, gonad, and adrenal glands, constitute a major health problem in all societies. As a result of improved insight into the diagnosis, pathophysiology, and molecular bases, it is now possible to diagnose the disorders earlier in their development, and the treatment of the deficiency states for most hormones is successful. Furthermore, with recognition that many of these disorders are either the consequence of single-gene mutations or have a major genetic component, it is now possible to diagnose affected fetuses and family members at risk. Therapies for the syndromes of hormone overproduction are less successful and frequently result in destruction of the endocrine organ involved, and the treatment of hormone resistance states is similarly unsatisfactory. These disorders are candidates for the development of superagonists/antagonists and gene therapies.
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