Imaging technology could help fight obesity

Imaging technology could be key to the future of obesity prevention, according to researchers in the U.K.

In a study published last month in the Journal of Pediatrics, a team of researchers, headed by Michael Symonds, a professor of developmental physiology in the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Nottingham, found that thermal imaging can be used to trace reserves of Brown Apidose Tissue--aka, brown fat or good fat--in patients. Brown fat helps individuals to burn calories as energy.

Brown fat typically produces 300 times more heat than other tissue in the body, according to the researchers. Symonds and his colleagues believe that through the use of thermal imaging, they can locate the brown fat in individuals and ultimately test how it balances energy from food eaten with energy used in the body.

"This completely non-invasive technique could play a crucial role in our fight against obesity," Symonds said, according to an article published by the university.

"Potentially we could add a thermogenic index to food labels to show whether that product would increase or decrease heat production within brown fat. In other words, whether it would speed up or slow down the amount of calories we burn."

The fight against obesity is a constant one for providers. A report published in May by the Institute of Medicine, for instance, found that more than 90 million children, teens and adults in the U.S. are obese.

A series of studies published in the April edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that geographic information system software can help to analyze trends associated with childhood obesity, which ultimately could help in improving prevention efforts.

To learn more:
- here's the abstract of the study from the Journal of Pediatrics
- read the University of Nottingham post

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