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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;66(12):1351-5. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2012.147. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

Multiple-slice magnetic resonance imaging can detect visceral adipose tissue reduction more accurately than single-slice imaging.

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  • 1Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan.



Imaging methods by magnetic resonance imaging are being increasingly used to quantify visceral adipose tissue (VAT), but there is no clear consensus as to a standardized protocol. We compared the ability of two commonly used imaging protocols (multiple slice versus single slice) to detect changes in VAT with diet or exercise.


We utilized data from the participants who completed our diet (n=22) or exercise (n=35) based weight-loss interventions. The intervention mainly comprised of weekly dietary modification sessions or aerobic exercise sessions over 12 weeks. Multiple-slice images obtained from T9 to S1 and a single-slice image at L4-L5 were compared using the effect size of the VAT change. In addition, we calculated the sample size needed to compare the two imaging protocols' ability to detect significant changes in VAT.


VAT and subcutaneous adipose tissue volumes and areas, and other anthropometry decreased significantly after both the diet and exercise interventions. For VAT, a single-slice image had a lower effect size (diet: 1.23; exercise: 0.49) than the multiple-slice images (diet: 1.81; exercise: 0.90). The sample size required for multiple slice was substantially lower than for the single-slice with both weight-loss interventions.


The different image protocols may lead to different results in relative VAT changes. Furthermore, single-slice imaging required a substantially larger sample size than multiple-slice imaging, and for researchers to detect smaller changes in VAT with single-slice imaging, a larger sample size would be needed. Thus, multiple-slice imaging has advantages for assessing VAT change in future clinical research.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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