Brown fat may protect against cardiac, metabolic conditions

People with detectable brown fat are less likely to suffer cardiac and metabolic conditions ranging from Type-2 diabetes to coronary artery disease, a new study suggests.
Brown fat, also called brown adipose tissue, helps maintain your body temperature when you get too cold. Unlike white fat, which stores calories, brown fat burns energy and scientists hope it may hold the key to new obesity treatments. “For the first time, it reveals a link to lower risk of certain conditions. These findings make us more confident about the potential of targeting brown fat for therapeutic benefit,” said Paul Cohen, Assistant Professor at The Rockefeller University Hospital in the US.
The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, confirms and expands the health benefits of brown fat suggested by previous studies.
For the study, the researchers reviewed 130,000 PET scans from more than 52,000 patients and found the presence of brown fat in nearly 10 per cent of individuals.
Several common and chronic diseases were less prevalent among people with detectable brown fat. For example, only 4.6 per cent had Type-2 diabetes, compared with 9.5 per cent of people who did not have detectable brown fat. Similarly, 18.9 per cent had abnormal cholesterol, compared to 22.2 per cent in those without brown fat.
Moreover, the study revealed three more conditions for which people with brown fat have lower risk: hypertension, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease — links that had not been observed in previous studies.

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