ORLANDO, Fla., July 30 (UPI) -- Researchers developed software that can detect whether fat in the body is the good brown type or the bad white type, and whether white fat is in subcutaneous cells in the skin or deeper in visceral cells and possibly wrapped around organs.
Brown fat, which is related to skeletal muscle, is considered good because it takes calories from from normal, white fat and burns it, helping to reduce weight gain. Brown fat cells also have been found to potentially slow cancer growth.
The software reads PET and CT scans in about a minute, and can work with markers such as contact dyes to enhance the software's ability to detect tissues, which researchers said can help clinicians get a more complete view of the extent, cause, and severity of a disease.
"These computer-derived results can help a doctor plan a treatment or surgery more accurately and much faster than before," said Ulas Bagci, an assistant professor in the Center for Research in Computer Vision at the University of Central Florida, in a press release.
Bagci said the lab plans to make the software available to hospitals for free, and is developing similar software to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of lung, kidney and prostate cancer.