2008-08-20 "Good" fat may be new weapon in obesity fight
(Reuters) - A new understanding of
the origins of brown fat cells -- the "good" kind of fat that burns
energy and keeps us warm -- may lead to new treatments for obesity, two
research teams reported on Wednesday.
Researchers at the Dana-Farber
Cancer Institute in Boston
said they used a single molecular switch to turn immature muscle cells into
brown fat cells in the lab, suggesting that brown fat may be more akin to
muscle cells than conventional white fat cells.
A second team from the Joslin Diabetes
Center in Boston, found a protein important for bone
growth helped promote the development of brown fat tissue in mice.(Read
Fat: New Key to Weight Loss? - Studies Show a Type of Fat Found in Newborns
Helps Burn Calories
New discoveries surrounding a type
of "good" fat that promotes the burning of calories could one day
lead to better treatments for obesity, researchers
Unlike more recognizable white
fat, which stores surplus energy, brown fat burns energy to generate heat.
Newborn babies have brown fat
-- presumably to help regulate their body temperature -- but adults are
believed to have little. (Read