Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School Study Swaps Bad Fat for Good in Effort on Obesity

Published: May 07, 2012

Harvard University scientists gave white fat, which stores energy, the calorie-burning properties of brown fat, which keeps hibernating bears warm in the winter, in a development that may lead to new therapies for obesity.

Brown fat was thought to exist in humans only in babies until 2009, when three research groups found it in adults. In the study released today, scientists manipulated white fat cells in mice by blocking an enzyme used to control the cells’ creation and activity. The process gave them the energy- expending characteristics of brown fat cells.

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