There is a certain type of fat known as adipose tissue, or brown fat that is found in young children and babies that is activated by cold and helps the body keep warm, it actually helps in burning calories.
Until recently, it has been deemed pretty unlikely that this substance is found in adults however, Dr. Aaron Cypess the leading researcher of the study carried out at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center is excited about his team’s discovery.
They looked at PET-CT scans taken on almost two thousand people and found some interesting results.
Older subjects, who were overweight or using certain drugs had a lot less of the brown fat than those who were trimmer and more youthful.
Winter scans showed up more fat than any performed in the warmer months. Two other teams of scientists have come up with similar findings.
One in the Netherlands and another in Sweden, all seem to have found the elusive brown fat that was assumed to only be found in babies. The Swedish team examined five subjects and put them through a variety of cold temperature environments to see the results.
Dr Fransesco Celi of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Problems sees it as proof that adults do have brown fat that can be triggered by, for example drugs aimed at fighting obesity.
Obviously it is very early days and often a discovery like this, needs to be put in the right context of what it could actually achieve for the human race.