9/11 first responders suffer from early risk of dementia


  • A study found that 9/11 first responders are 2-3 times more likely to suffer early cognitive impairment
  • Patients involved in the study had blood abnormalities and had brain scans showing “brain atrophy”.
  • Earlier studies showed exposure to toxins close to Ground Zero during that time have caused a higher risk of breast cancer, other rare cancers, and heart disease.

New research conducted by Stony Brook University has found that first responders who worked at Ground Zero of the September 11 attack are suffering cognitive decline ten to twenty years earlier than the general population.

Chief researcher Sean Clouston said that 9/11 first responders are “two to three times more likely… to have mild cognitive impairment- a precondition of dementia.”

Dr. Benjamin Luft, who oversees Stony Brook’s World Trade Center Health and Wellness program, says that the amount of time spent on the pile is associated with cognitive impairment with PTSD, a “precursor to developing Alzheimer’s disease.”

The health of 99 patients with serious levels of cognitive decline is being monitored as part of the study. They are being checked to see if they develop Alzheimer’s or other related conditions. The research uncovered “brain atrophy” in brain scans as well as blood abnormalities.

A retired firefighter, Ron Kirchner, who participated in the study and spent almost 600 hours working at Ground Zero, retired in 2009 after being diagnosed with asthma and COPD.

Three years later, at age 50, he started losing his memory and began struggling with basic tasks. His wife Dawn said an MRI revealed that her husband had the brain of an 85-year-old. Ron went on to suffer seizures and is no longer capable of speaking coherently.

Dawn says she absolutely believes Ron’s condition is “related to working at the pile” where there was a “tremendous amount of exposure to toxins.”

Previous studies also revealed that a high number of men who’d been exposed to toxins at Ground Zero were diagnosed with breast cancer and firefighters had a higher risk for heart disease. Students studying within the vicinity at the time came to develop rare cancers.

Source: New York Post

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