9/11 First Responders With Debris Exposure Have Higher Risk Of Dementia, Study Finds

New research says dust and debris from the fallen World Trade Center after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, have played a major role in the brain health of first responders, as most are at significant risk of developing dementia before the age of 65 years. Read on to know more.
9/11 first responders at high risk for dementia

Severe exposure to the debris was associated with a higher risk of dementia before the age of 65 years

The debris from the fallen World Trade Center in the 2001 Terror Attacks in New York City has played a major role in the brain health of first responders like police persons, firefighters, and medical staff, according to a new study. In the study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, researchers at Stony Brook University in New York found severe exposure to the debris was associated with a higher risk of dementia before the age of 65 years as compared to those who were either not exposed or wore protective equipment like masks or hazmat suits.
Dementia is a general term for a decline in cognitive abilities that can affect a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Experts say it is not a normal part of ageing and can range in severity from mild to severe. A few common symptoms include memory, attention, and communication problems.
The research used data from more than 5,000 responders, part of the Stony Brook WTC Health and Wellness Program, and was tracked consistently despite adjusting for demographic, medical, and social factors.
For the researchers, the median age of participants at the beginning of the study was 53. "Dementia is a concern mostly for people in their 70s or 80s. Here, we found that rates were very high," Sean Clouston, one of the study's authors, told CBS News.

Study picks up from previous research

Previously, in 2022, the Stony Brook team had studied on the same subject, finding that the 9/11 first responders showed signs of cognitive impairment at roughly thrice the rate of the general population. The latest study, however, is the first to "show an association between exposure and dementia, and to show that PPE might have helped mitigate the exposures," Clouston said.

How do debris deteriorate brain health?

According to the scientists, even though the exact mechanism is unknown, findings of the study say that "very fine particles and chemicals" in the air at the World Trade Center were "neurotoxic and can pass through the blood-brain barrier to affect the brain."
Statistics say an estimated 400,000 people were exposed to toxic gases, dust particles, and containments in the days, months, and even years following the attacks on September 11, 2001.
"These findings are a major step forward in establishing that the dust and toxins which were released as a result of the calamitous terrorist attacks on 9/11 continue to have devastating consequences on the responders," said Dr. Benjamin Luft, co-author, and director of the Stony Brook WTC Health and Wellness Program. Luft added that "the full extent of neurodegenerative disease still needs to be determined."

Responders suffer from various physical, and mental health issues

According to the CDC, many responders suffer from both physical and mental health issues, including depression, stress, anxiety, and PTSD, while hundreds have already died from an array of diseases like cancers and lung diseases.
Scientists say the air quality that the responders were exposed to at the building site that day and the following months was worse than the air quality we experience daily since it included a range of hazardous materials.
End of Article
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news