Fat. What is it good for? Stem cells, as it turns out

Here's something many of us can tell ourselves the next time we look in the mirror. "God made love handles for a reason."

And this comes from one of the leading researchers in the field of fat-derived stem cells, according to The Washington Post. Flying in the face of a widely publicized obesity epidemic, fat may not be something all that bad, according to Stuart Williams, scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, a partnership between the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare.

That's because there's a kind of Cracker Jack surprise inside your fat--stem cells that researchers say could limit the loss of heart function after a heart attack and fix damage after heart failure. Research into fat-derived stem cells began about eight years ago, when about 300 scientists from around the world formed the International Federation of Adipose Therapeutics and Science Society. Yes, that acronym is, indeed, IFATS.

Results look encouraging from stem cell trials taking place in the Netherlands and Spain, with patients showing reductions in the size of heart injuries and improvements in the amount of blood the heart can pump, better oxygen consumption and better ability to perform physical activity.

No need to bulk up yet, though. It will be several years before treatments from fat-derived stem cells are available.

- read The Washington Post report