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Brown fat 'good fat' found in adult

BOSTON, April 10 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers have demonstrated that adults still have "good" fat previously believed to be present only in babies and children.

Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center said that unlike white fat -- which stores energy and comprises most body fat -- good fat, called brown fat, is active in burning calories and using energy.

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Senior author Dr. C. Ronald Kahn said the study shows brown fat not only exists in adults, but it is metabolically active.

"The fact that there is active brown fat in adult humans means this is now a new and important target for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes," Kahn said in a statement.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found people who are overweight or obese as measured by higher Body Mass Index were less likely to have substantial amounts of brown fat. Patients taking beta-blockers and patients who were older were also less likely to have active brown fat.

For example, people both over age 64 and with high BMI scores were six times less likely than others to have substantial amounts of brown fat.

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The researchers analyzed a database of 1,972 patients who had undergone positron emission tomography/computed tomography scans for a variety of reasons during a three-year period.

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