JUL 17, 2017 1:03 PM PDT

9/11 Survivors At Enhanced Risk of Lung Disease, Heart Attack

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

A decade after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001, scientists began to measure the health repercussions faced by survivors of the attack. Finally, the results of the study are coming out and being discussed by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

Burning debris and a subsequent dust cloud would have long-lasting effects on anyone it enveloped - passersby and rescue workers alike. Sustained physical injuries would maim some survivors for life. Experts from the NYC DOHMH aimed to pinpoint the precise health problems for which these individuals could be at risk, asking: What’s the connection between physical injury or acute exposure to dust and chronic disease a decade later?

8,701 participants volunteered for the study, with the most heavily exposed groups being area workers, rescue workers, passersby, and residents.

Several types of injuries were associated with an increased risk of angina or heart attack, including fractures, head injuries, sprains, and more. Angina is characterized by chest pain or discomfort associated with a lack of oxygen-rich blood pumping in the heart. However, it not considered a disease; rather, it is thought of as a symptom of an underlying heart problem. Additionally, scientists found that a person sustaining multiple injuries would be additionally at risk for these health problems.

Dust exposure, experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or having been a rescue worker on 9/11 are all factors the findings linked to an increased risk of non-neoplastic lung disease, a risk which was exacerbated by a currently smoking status. Non-neoplastic lung diseases do not involve tumors and include asthma, interstitial lung disease, and pulmonary hypertension. Additionally, dust exposure was separately connected to an increased risk of asthma.

"Our findings indicate that intense exposure on a single day - the first day of the disaster - contributes substantially to the risk of developing chronic conditions,” explained corresponding author Dr. Robert Brackbill. The study was recently published in the journal Injury Epidemiology.



Sources: American Heart Association, Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Biomed Central

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JUN 15, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Revealing the Network of Neurons in the Heart
JUN 15, 2020
Revealing the Network of Neurons in the Heart
The autonomic nervous system is linked to the intrinsic cardiac nervous system (ICN), which is thought to help regulate ...
JUN 25, 2020
Cardiology
Using RNA to Predict Acute Ischemic Strokes
JUN 25, 2020
Using RNA to Predict Acute Ischemic Strokes
Strokes are a leading cause of death and long term-disability across the globe. Ischemic strokes (IS) or acute ischemic ...
JUL 28, 2020
Cardiology
Looking to Newborns for Help Healing Scars on the Heart
JUL 28, 2020
Looking to Newborns for Help Healing Scars on the Heart
Scars are a badge of honor to many, but they are really just a consequence of the body’s repair response. The body ...
SEP 05, 2020
Cardiology
Psoriasis and Hyperlipidemia May Put You at Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease
SEP 05, 2020
Psoriasis and Hyperlipidemia May Put You at Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease
The sad truth is that many diseases not only carry their own symptoms but can also increase the risk of the onset of ano ...
SEP 17, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Blood Vessels on a Chip Test Clotting
SEP 17, 2020
Blood Vessels on a Chip Test Clotting
Blood clotting, also known as coagulation, is a critical biological mechanism to prevent excessive blood loss in the eve ...
SEP 16, 2020
Neuroscience
Blood Lipid Levels Predict Depression and Anxiety
SEP 16, 2020
Blood Lipid Levels Predict Depression and Anxiety
While people often experience anxiety and depression together, psychiatrists classify them as different disorders. And n ...
Loading Comments...