9/11 first responders with PTSD have an increased risk of cognitive decline and the development of early onset dementia, finds research
- Researchers examined 1,800 9/11 first responders and tested cognitive skills
- Almost 15% had a mild cognitive impairment, the stage between deterioration due to aging and deterioration due to dementia
- Care providers with PTSD were 2.6 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment
Researchers say there is a link between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cognitive impairment in first-aid workers from 9/11.
A new study from Stony Brook University in New York showed that Ground Zero rescuers with PTSD were 2.6 times more likely to experience memory and learning difficulties.
This can result in an increased risk of premature dementia for as many as 60,000 men and women working in rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center site.
The team says that doctors who treat 9/11 first responders with PTSD should not only monitor them for symptoms of anxiety and depression, but also for early signs of cognitive decline.
A new study from Stony Brook University in New York has shown that 9/11 first responders with PTSD have an increased risk of developing early onset dementia. Pictured: hijacked flight 175 of United Airlines flies to the World Trade Center shortly before it hits the south tower (left) on September 11, 2001
For the study, published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, the team looked at first responders who were treated in the Stony Brook World Trade Center Health and Wellness Program.
All 1,800 men and women had normal cognitive scores in 2014 and were tested for cognitive decline in 2015.
In follow-up research, nearly 15 percent had mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – the stage between deterioration due to aging and deterioration due to dementia.
Sufferers can have problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Approximately 15 to 20 percent of over-65s in the US have MCI, which increases the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
The risk of suffering from cognitive impairment was 2.6 times higher in responders with more severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
& # 39; One of the most worrying aspects of our findings is that we discovered that a significant proportion of respondents have a new cognitive impairment. Sean Clouston, associate professor in the family population and preventive medicine at Stony Brook University.
& # 39; (This was surprising) when many of them were cognitively normal within a few years. & # 39;
Looking at blood samples, the investigated also noted higher levels of MCI in individuals who carry Apoliopoprotein-e4, a major known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Clouston said that future research into possible early dementia among 9/11 respondents should focus on risks such as the severity of PTSD symptoms.
& # 39; This study underlies the increasingly clear evidence that PTSD is not only a mental disorder, but can also have significant pathological effects on the brain and body & # 39 ;, said co-author Dr. Benjamin Luft, Director of the Stony Brook World Trade Center Health and Wellness Program.
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