In recent years the future position of clinical endocrinology has been extensively discussed by Western European endocrine societies. Clinical endocrinology seems to suffer from being too intellectual, generating too little income, and lacking too few spectacular interventions. In this manuscript we describe 'the endocrine patient' of the past, the present, and the future. Complete therapeutic breakthroughs resulting in 'cure' are compared with 'halfway technologies' which help in creating the (life-long) chronic endocrine patient. The potential use of molecular diagnostics in optimalizing hormone replacement therapy is discussed. Clinical endocrinology is at risk of developing into a subspecialty where life-style drugs created for new diseases or conditions are offered, but also actively pursued by otherwise healthy individuals (e.g. in normal short stature, regulation of appetite, body composition, sexuality, reproduction and aging). The potential opportunities and risks for clinical endocrinology in creating 'the endocrine patient' of the future are discussed.

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European Journal of Endocrinology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Lamberts, S., Romijn, J., & Wiersinga, W. (2003). The future endocrine patient. Reflections on the future of clinical endocrinology. European Journal of Endocrinology. Retrieved from