Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key milestone for brown fat research with a ground-breaking MRI scan

17.04.2014

The first MRI scan to show 'brown fat' in a living adult could prove to be an essential step towards a new wave of therapies to aid the fight against diabetes and obesity.

Researchers from Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust used a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based method to identify and confirm the presence of brown adipose tissue in a living adult.


This is a digitally-enhanced axial MRI of the upper chest (as if viewed from the feet). Areas of potential brown fat are shown in green.

Credit: University of Warwick, UHCW

Brown fat has become a hot topic for scientists due its ability to use energy and burn calories, helping to keep weight in check. Understanding the brown fat tissue and how it can be used to such ends is of growing interest in the search to help people suffering from obesity or at a high risk of developing diabetes.

Dr Thomas Barber, from the Department of Metabolic and Vascular Health at Warwick Medical School, explained, "This is an exciting area of study that requires further research and discovery. The potential is there for us to develop safe and effective ways of activating this brown fat to promote weight loss and increase energy expenditure – but we need more data to be able to get to that point."

... more about:
»MRI »MRI scan »PET »activity »brown fat »energy »weight

"This particular proof of concept is key, as it allows us to pursue MRI techniques in future assessments and gather this required information."

The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, outlines the benefits of using MRI scans over the existing method of positron emission tomography (PET). Whilst PET does show brown fat activity, it is subject to a number of limitations including the challenge of signal variability from a changing environmental temperature.

Unlike the PET data which only displays activity, the MRI can show brown fat content whether active or not – providing a detailed insight into where it can be found in the adult body. This information could prove vital in the creation of future therapies that seek to activate deposits of brown fat.

Dr Barber added, "The MRI allows us to distinguish between the brown fat, and the more well-known white fat that people associate with weight gain, due to the different water to fat ratio of the two tissue types. We can use the scans to highlight what we term 'regions of interest' that can help us to build a picture of where the brown fat is located."

With the proof of concept now completed, the next step is to further validate this technique across a larger group of adults.

###

The team includes Dr Barber, Professor Charles Hutchinson, Dr Terence Jones, Dr Narendra Reddy and Dr Sarah Wayte.

Dr Barber works at the Human Metabolism Research Unit at UHCW. The unit has benefitted from substantial investment through the Science City Research Alliance programme.

The Science City Research Alliance (SCRA) is a large scale, long-term research programme between the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick.

Luke Harrison | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.warwick.ac.uk

Further reports about: MRI MRI scan PET activity brown fat energy weight

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Tiny mechanical wrist gives new dexterity to needlescopic surgery
24.07.2015 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Printing implants with the laser
21.07.2015 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Glaciers melt faster than ever

Glacier decline in the first decade of the 21st century has reached a historical record, since the onset of direct observations. Glacier melt is a global phenomenon and will continue even without further climate change. This is shown in the latest study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the lead of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service, domiciled at the University of Zurich, has compiled worldwide data on glacier changes for more than 120 years. Together...

Im Focus: Quantum Matter Stuck in Unrest

Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.

What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...

Im Focus: On the crest of the wave: Electronics on a time scale shorter than a cycle of light

Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.

The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

Im Focus: Unlocking the rice immune system

Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Macromolecular Shredder for RNA in the Cell Nucleus

03.08.2015 | Life Sciences

Argonne Finds Butanol is Good for Boats

03.08.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

How to Become a T Follicular Helper Cell

03.08.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>