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People with brown fat detected on imaging appear to be at reduced risk of cardiac and metabolic conditions, ranging from type 2 diabetes to hypertension and coronary artery disease, and the effect is particularly strong in individuals with obesity, suggests a new study conducted in over 52,000 individuals who had PET/CT scans as part of cancer evaluation.
The new study, which is the largest of its kind in humans, confirms the health benefits of brown fat that have been proposed by previous studies. Brown adipose tissue was found in 9.7% of patients, with higher rates of brown fat noted among women compared to men (13.8% vs 4.9%; P < .0001) and reduced rates with advancing age. Among those with brown fat, the rate of type 2 diabetes was 4.6% compared to 9.5% in those with no brown fat (P < .0001). A multivariate analysis revealed that the odds ratio (OR) for type 2 diabetes in the presence of brown fat was 0.44. The occurrence of coronary artery disease was also significantly lower in those with brown fat (OR, 0.68; P = .0002), as was cerebrovascular disease (OR, 0.77; P = .0317), congestive heart failure (OR, 0.62; P = .0043), and hypertension (OR, 0.85; P = .0014).The findings are published online in Nature Medicine… (Medscape)