Study: 9/11 First Responders At Greater Risk Of Developing Dementia

Peter Haskell
July 28, 2020 - 7:53 pm

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Nearly nineteen years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, studies continue to reveal lasting health effects from the toxic dust that surrounded the World Trade Center site.

On Tuesday, researchers at Stony Brook University announced that people who were exposed to the toxins that swirled through Lower Manhattan in the wake of the terror attacks are now at a greater risk of developing dementia and other forms of memory loss.

They say around 15% of 9/11 first responders are showing signs of cognitive impairment at roughly three times the rate of the general population in that age bracket.

Researchers say the so-called brain age of 9/11 patients is actually about 10 years older as compared to other people their age.

“Scores of people who I represent have told me over the years, 'my husband can't remember anything' or 'I can't remember anything, Michael' and it's really heartbreaking,” says attorney Michael Barasch, who has represented around 20,000 clients in 9/11-related cases.

Researchers say the studies should prompt congress to add cognitive-related illnesses and impairments to the list of 9/11-related ailments that are covered by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

It’s believed first responders who spent lengthy amounts of time at the site in the aftermaths of the attacks, and later developed post-traumatic stress disorder, are more likely to develop neurological abnormalities.

Researchers studied hundreds of MRIs from 9/11 patients that showed a thinning of the brain – indicating the onset of dementia.

9/11 MRIS
Stony Brook University

They first began to study patients around five years ago to determine if there was accelerated aging among 9/11 first responders.

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