9/11 Ground Zero responders suffer early risk of dementia, researchers say

9/11 Ground Zero responders suffer early risk of dementia, researchers say


The Sept. 11 terror attack didn’t just sicken first responders who desperately searched for victims at Ground Zero — it also appears to be robbing them of their mental faculties, disturbing new research shows.

A study conducted by Stony Brook University has found that people who worked amid the rubble of the Twin Towers are suffering cognitive decline far earlier than normal.

“It’s two to three times more likely that 9/11 responders are likely to have mild cognitive impairment — a precondition of dementia — than the general population that is ten to twenty years older,” said chief researcher Dr. Sean Clouston.

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“They’re getting cognitive impairment at an earlier age.”

Stony Brook’s World Trade Center Health and Wellness program treats more than 3,000 patients, including many first responders or laborers who worked at Ground Zero.

Firefighter Ronald Kirchner with wife, Dawn.

Neurological tests revealed that 12 percent suffered at least mild cognitive impairment or decline, said Dr. Benjamin Luft,

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