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WASHINGTON – 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.
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.