Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adults, Especially Women, Have Calorie-burning 'Brown Fat'

Date:
June 12, 2009
Source:
The Endocrine Society
Summary:
Keeping your baby fat turns out to be a good thing, as long as it is "brown fat" -- the kind that burns calories, according to a study that found adults have much more of this type of fat than previously thought. The results suggest a new way to treat obesity.

Keeping your baby fat turns out to be a good thing, as long as it is "brown fat"—the kind that burns calories, according to a study that found adults have much more of this type of fat than previously thought. The results, which suggest a new way to treat obesity, were presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Related Articles


Brown fat burns off calories and generates heat in babies and small mammals. Most of our body fat is white fat, which also provides insulation but stores calories. It becomes "bad" fat when you have too much. The "good" fat—brown fat—was considered essentially nonexistent in human adults.

"We now know that it is present and functional in adults," said the study's lead author, Aaron Cypess, MD, PhD, MMSc, of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. "Three ounces of brown fat can burn several hundred calories a day."

For the first time, the researchers were able to measure patches of brown adipose tissue—brown fat—in people, thanks to a high-tech imaging method that combines positron emission tomography and computed tomography, called PET/CT. By evaluating biopsy tissue of what appeared to be brown fat on PET/CT scans in some patients who had neck surgery, the authors confirmed that they were, indeed, looking at stores of brown fat. More than 1,970 study participants had PET/CT scans, from mid-skull to mid-thigh.

Brown fat (when it could be detected) was located in an area extending from the front of the neck to the chest. Of the subjects who had detectable brown fat, about 6 percent had 3 ounces or more of the fat.

"We believe that this percentage greatly underestimates the number of adults in the population who have a large amount of brown fat," said Cypess, whose results were published in the April 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, along with those of two other independent studies of brown fat in adults.

That is because one of the other studies found that PET/CT can detect much more brown fat if people are in a room cooled to 61F. Likewise, Cypess and his colleagues found that people who underwent PET/CT in the winter had more brown fat activity than those scanned in the summer.

They also discovered that brown fat is most abundant in young women and least frequent in older, overweight men. In fact, women were more than twice as likely as men to have substantial amounts of brown fat.

"One theory for this is that women may have less muscle mass overall, so they need more brown fat to generate heat and keep warm," Cypess said.

Brown fat provides a new focus for developing treatments protecting against obesity and its complications, according to Cypess. However, it may not be enough to lose weight to just have brown fat. The researcher said, "We may have to turn it on and make sure it burns calories in a regulated, safe manner."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Endocrine Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Endocrine Society. "Adults, Especially Women, Have Calorie-burning 'Brown Fat'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090611142529.htm>.
The Endocrine Society. (2009, June 12). Adults, Especially Women, Have Calorie-burning 'Brown Fat'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090611142529.htm
The Endocrine Society. "Adults, Especially Women, Have Calorie-burning 'Brown Fat'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090611142529.htm (accessed February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins