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New Research Suggests That Agent Orange Exposure Can Trigger Brain Alterations And Potentially Cause Neurodegenerative Conditions Like Alzheimer’s Disease

Daniel - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

It has been over five decades since the end of the Vietnam War. Yet, Agent Orange still impacts numerous veterans to this day.

Past research has indicated that millions of Americans might have also encountered this hazardous herbicide, commonly found in commercial weed killers.

But now, a new study conducted by researchers at Brown University has suggested that Agent Orange exposure can actually initiate brain alterations, potentially resulting in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease among older veterans.

Between 1965 and 1970, the United States military heavily used Agent Orange– a man-made herbicide– to eliminate vegetation in Vietnam, revealing enemy hideouts. However, this led to the unintentional exposure of approximately 2.6 million American service members to its hazardous chemicals.

Later findings linked Agent Orange to various health problems, including birth defects in the offspring of those exposed and a higher likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer among the directly affected individuals.

“Scientists realized that Agent Orange was a neurotoxin with potential long-term effects, but those weren’t shown in a clear way. That’s what we are able to show with this study,” detailed Dr. Suzanne M. De La Monte, the study’s author.

The latest study discovered that dioxins, chemicals in Agent Orange, harm brain tissue in a manner similar to the initial stages of Alzheimer’s. More precisely, these dioxins cause the deterioration of frontal lobe tissue, accompanied by molecular and biochemical irregularities commonly associated with Alzheimer’s.

According to De La Monte, identifying the initial effects indicates a looming issue that will eventually become problematic, and it also helps scientists understand the mechanism through which the agent is causing these issues.

“So, if you were going to intervene, you would know to focus on that early effect, monitor it, and try to reverse it,” she said.

Daniel – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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