Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Fat on the inside? A blood test may someday tell you

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A few months ago, Martha wrote about people who were "tofi" -- or thin on the outside but fat on the inside. The term describes a group of people who appear to be thin, but actually carry dangerous body fat around their internal organs. Because weight-related health is often assessed by measuring a person's waistline, this hidden fat can be easily missed. A CT scan can sometimes pick up the presence of the fat, but it's costly and who really wants to put themselves through an unnecessary procedure?

A new blood test may be in the works that can find hidden fat in lean patients. It screens people for a protein called RBP4, which is elevated in those who have a significant amount of abdominal fat. RBP4 has also been linked to pre-diabetes, and health experts believe that they can create a quick and inexpensive blood test to detect the protein in a patients blood. Will it someday become part of a routine screening? Who knows, but it's intriguing...especially for those who think they are at risk.

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