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Silicone Implants Tied To Disease, Study Says

Sat., Feb. 15, 1997

Scientists at Tulane University said Friday they have developed a test that links silicone breast implants to a new kind of immune system disease.

The research was seized upon by plaintiffs in the legal cases against breast implant makers as evidence that researchers who have previously failed to find a disease among women with implants are wrong.

Outside scientists, however, said the study is too preliminary to draw firm conclusions.

The Tulane study of 153 women is to be published today in the Lancet, a British medical journal. It said women with breast implants can become allergic to the silicone in breast implants and similar, natural substances in their own joints and muscles.

The researchers said they discovered an antibody present in the bodies of women with “atypical” immune disease symptoms - the term used by plaintiffs who claim a link between silicone and disease.

Other larger studies of thousands of women have failed to find evidence linking implants and more classic immune system diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

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