News ArchivesRead News
Researchers find possible links between Agent Orange and risks of heart disease, Parkinson's
Thursday July 30, 2009
Los Angeles Times - Medical researchers say there may be a link between exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War and an increased chance of developing serious heart problems and Parkinson's disease.
A study from the Institute of Medicine released Friday contains several caveats, but suggests there is a stronger connection than previously thought about the health risks to Vietnam veterans.
The research was sponsored by the Veterans Affairs Department, which will decide what to do with the findings. A VA spokeswoman said the department is reviewing the study to determine the full extent of the toxic effects of Agent Orange so exposed Vietnam veterans get the disability benefits they are entitled to.
American forces sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange and other defoliants over parts of Vietnam from 1962 to 1970. Military authorities used the defoliants in an attempt to massively prune away the dense jungle cover used by North Vietnamese forces to hide.
American troops and others exposed to the chemicals later complained of numerous health problems, however, and researchers are still trying to determine the scope of the damage.
The Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, is mandated by Congress to review every two years evidence about the effects of Agent Orange exposure.
To determine whether Vietnam veterans faced an increased chance of ischemic heart disease — a condition involving reduced blood supply to the heart — researchers reviewed several studies that showed links between higher exposure levels and greater incidence of the disease.
Other factors such as smoking, age, and weight can also play a role, they noted. Still, they said veterans exposed to the chemicals may be at greater risk.
The conclusion on Parkinson's was based on a review of 16 studies that looked at herbicide exposures among people with the disease or Parkinson's-like symptoms. But the study cautions the review was hindered by the lack of studies specifically investigating Parkinson's rates among Vietnam veterans.
Recent NewsJul 7 - Parkinson’s Patients Have a Higher Risk of Developing Melanoma — and Vice Versa, Study Finds
Jun 27 - The rogue protein behind Parkinson’s disease may also protect your gut
Jun 26 - Do Statins Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease? Some Researchers Think So
Jun 22 - A Confused Immune System Could Be Behind Parkinson's Disease
Jun 21 - Predicting cognitive deficits in people with Parkinson’s disease
Jun 20 - Gym offers classes in noncontact boxing for Parkinson’s patients
Jun 19 - Human Limitations Could Prevent Us From Advancing in Science. AI Could Help.
Jun 13 - Brain Cell Transplants Are Being Tested Once Again For Parkinson's
Jun 12 - Smell Test May Sniff Out Oncoming Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
Jun 8 - Smartphones Track Motor Function in Parkinson's Disease
Jun 8 - GKC Enrolls First Patient in Personal KinetiGraph Trial as Part of NPF’s Parkinson’s Outcomes Project
Jun 8 - Low-fat dairy intake may raise Parkinson's risk
Jun 6 - Patient Voices: Parkinson's Disease
Jun 1 - World-First Trials Have Been Launched to Treat Parkinson's And Blindness With Embryonic Stem Cells
Jun 1 - LIFE Shared This Remarkable Parkinson's Disease Story in 1959.
May 24 - Survival Rates Differ Widely in Parkinson's, MSA, Lewy Bodies
May 22 - Discovery may offer hope to Parkinson's disease patients
May 15 - Study offers answers on life expectancy for people with Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia
May 5 - Parkinson's in a dish: Researchers reproduce brain oscillations
May 5 - ‘Hunger Hormone’ Could Help Treat Parkinson’s Disease