'Brown' fat, previously unknown in adults, revs up calorie-burning, experts say
WEDNESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Take note of the brown revolution -- the brown fat revolution, that is.
Three separate groups of scientists on two continents have independently verified that adult humans do possess this "good," slimming form of fat, previously thought only to be present in children and rodents.
The tissue is metabolically active and the more of this fat you have, the leaner you tend to be, experts say. That's because brown fat helps regulate body temperature by generating heat.
And according to experts, insights on how to tweak brown fat's magic qualities could lead to anti-obesity treatments.
"The general public and most scientists didn't know this existed," said Dr. Aaron Cypess, a research associate at Joslin Diabetes Center and instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "We say it's there and could be used as a treatment for obesity and diabetes."
Cypess is lead author of one of the studies, all three of which appear in the April 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
A brown fat-based obesity cure is likely a long ways off, experts cautioned.
"This is the first time we're finding out that there is active brown fat in adult humans, but the question is if this can be applied -- if we can use medication to make this brown fat more active and help people lose weight," said Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
"With obesity treatments, we now can't lose more than 10 percent," Mezitis said. "This is something that opens a new vista of maybe drugs that will treat obesity in a more effective manner."
While too much everyday "white" fat causes obesity, brown fat actually helps burn calories and may help us lose weight. Babies have some, but most scientists studying metabolism
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