A new study conducted by researchers at the Boston University School Of Medicine (BUSM) has stated that BMI can be a poor predictor of undesirable fat that causes a decreased heart function. It further states that even in non-obese people with a normal BMI, fat accumulation around certain organs predisposes such individuals to a heart problem.
A detailed reading of the study, published online in the journal Obesity, shows that fat build-up around the liver and heart increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes and decrease the heart’s ability to pump efficiently.
As a part of clinical assessment, researchers at BUSM compared fat volumes in obese individuals with BMI over 30 and lean healthy individuals with an average BMI of 22. All these individuals tested for blood levels of lipoproteins, glucose, insulin, and free fatty acids. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and proton MR spectroscopy were used to measure pericardial and peri-aortic lipid (fat) volumes, heart function, aortic compliance and accumulation of fat content in the liver. The results showed that being leaner did not correlate with amount of fat around heart and liver, thus elucidating BMI to be a poor indicator of undesirable fat around vital organs, and therefore a poor predictor of heart disease.
James Hamilton, PhD, senior author and project leader, and a professor of biophysics, physiology and biomedical engineering at BUSM said, “Our study found that fat collection around the heart, the aorta and within the liver is clearly associated with decreased heart functions and that an MRI can quickly and noninvasively measure fat volume in these areas.”
Researchers are now optimistic about incorporating this technique into routine medical practice and say, “it takes about an hour” for measuring cardiac function and amounts of organ fat. They are hopeful that future treatments for diabetes and heart disease can be individualised by using MRI and MR spectroscopy to measure accumulated fat.
Article by Snigdha Taduri for Biomed ME