Researchers from Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust used a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based method to identify and confirm the presence of brown adipose tissue in a living adult.
Brown fat has become a hot topic for scientists due its ability to use energy and burn calories, helping to keep weight in check.
Understanding the brown fat tissue and how it can be used to such ends is of growing interest in the search to help people suffering from obesity or at a high risk of developing diabetes.
"This is an exciting area of study that requires further research and discovery. The potential is there for us to develop safe and effective ways of activating this brown fat to promote weight loss and increase energy expenditure - but we need more data to be able to get to that point," Dr Thomas Barber, from the Department of Metabolic and Vascular Health at Warwick Medical School, said.
"This particular proof of concept is key, as it allows us to pursue MRI techniques in future assessments and gather this required information," he said.
The study is published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.