Cognitive Impairment in 9/11 Responders Tied to Brain Atrophy
First responders to the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks on September 11, 2001, who have cognitive impairment show cortical thinning across multiple brain regions, including those commonly affected by Alzheimer's disease, suggest results from the first structural neuroimaging study conducted in this population. The study clarifies that a neurodegenerative condition is present in first responders who experience cognitive impairment in midlife, which "is incredibly important to know," lead author Sean Clouston, PhD, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, told Medscape Medical News.
@sunetra During the 9/11 attack and in its aftermath, WTC responders were exposed to a range of inhaled neurotoxicants, as well as extreme psychosocial stressors. A growing number of WTC responders who are now in their 50s and early 60s are experiencing early cognitive impairment. Using MRI, the investigators examined cortical thickness (CTX), a surrogate marker for neurodegeneration, in 99 mostly male WTC responders; 48 had cognitive impairment, and 51 did not. The age range of the participants was 45 to 65 years, an age range during which cortical atrophy is uncommon in the general population, the researchers note.