A team of researchers at the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute in Orlando found that hormones produced by the heart can cause regular fat calls from mice and humans to taken on characteristics of brown fat cells.

Brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat, is a specific type of tissue that burns calories in order to build body heat in rodents and newborn humans. It has been recently discovered that adult humans also have brown fat.

According to researchers, this truth will help benefit the fight against obesity, as it was determined that increasing the amount of brown fat in a person can make help them lose weight.

Sheila Collins, lead author of the study, has determined that hormones produced by the heart known as cardiac natriuretic peptides can cause regular fat cells (white adipocytes) from mice and humans to take on certain traits of brown fat cells invitro.

Combining one cardiac natriuretic peptide into mice caused regular white fat to increase both the amount of brown fat and overall amounts of energy. Scientists hope through continued studies, it may be possible to clinically manipulate these results to assist combating obesity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third (33.8 percent) of adults in the United States suffer from obesity. Obesity related conditions consist of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancers. The medical costs linked to obesity were estimated at $147 billion in 2008.

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