PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., Dec. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has spent many years fighting to ensure that the heroes and survivors of the September 11th terrorist attacks are never forgotten, comments on the findings of a study published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring. The findings suggest that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be related to cognitive impairment in World Trade Center (WTC) responders. The study involved over 800 WTC responders treated at the Stony Brook University WTC Wellness program. The rate of cognitive impairment, which is the decline of abilities such as memory and thinking skills, was 13 percent among 9/11 responders, the researchers found. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352872916300410)
The rate of cognitive impairment was higher than expected, researchers found. The authors also observed a link to PTSD, particularly in responders who re-experience symptoms, such as flashbacks or nightmares. The also study found that 12.8 percent of participants had scores indicating cognitive impairment and 1.2 percent had scores indicating possible dementia. Having PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD) was associated with cognitive impairment, as was re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD.
"To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the association of PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD) with cognitive impairment, and to do so in a large group of civilian World Trade Center responders without head trauma," said Sean A. Clouston, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University and lead author, according to a Stony Brook press release. "These numbers are staggering, considering that the average age of responders was 53 during this study." (http://www.stonybrook.edu/happenings/research/911-first-responders-show-cognitive-impairment-researchers-find/?spotlight=1)
WTC Health Programs have enrolled over 33,000 9/11 responders since 2002. The authors say that, if their findings are truly representative of that population, the number of responders with cognitive impairment may translate to 3,740-5,300 and 240-810 responders with dementia.
"This study indicates that the effects of the exposure to the World Trade Center attacks on the responders may be more pervasive and insidious than originally thought," said Benjamin J. Luft, MD, Director of the Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program and co-author of the study, according to the release. "The results only support the wisdom of the passage of the Zadroga legislation, which provides continued monitoring and treatment of diseases caused by these exposures."
Parker Waichman comments that 9/11 responders and survivors have higher rates of many medical problems, including mental health disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. These individuals also have higher rates of physical ailments from exposure to toxic dust, including respiratory problems and certain cancers.
"Yet another study shows that 9/11 responders and survivors suffer from higher rates of mental health problems, in addition to physical conditions such as cancer," said Keith Gitman, Managing Attorney at the Parker Waichman. "Findings such as this highlight the importance of the Zadroga Act, which provides medical treatment, monitoring, and compensation to 9/11 responders and survivors."
Many responders and survivors affected by the 9/11 attacks receive much-needed benefits through the Zadroga Act, which was first signed into law in 2011. The legislation established two programs: The World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical treatment and monitoring, and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) which provides compensation. The bill was reauthorized in December 2015, after years of effort from 9/11 advocates, including Parker Waichman. Reauthorization provides $3.5 billion to fund the WTC Health program for another 75 years to 2090. The WTC Health Program treats and monitors over 73,000 responders and survivors.
Parker Waichman emphasizes the importance of the VCF and the WTC Health Program and is proud to have fought alongside Ground Zero residents, workers, first responders, and other survivors and advocates, to help ensure passage of Zadroga Act amendments. The firm vows to continue its efforts to safeguard all those exposed to Ground Zero's toxic cloud and the trauma of the attacks, and to ensure that all of the deserved Zadroga Act compensation is received. To determine eligibility for compensation under the Act, or for assistance with a claim, please visit the Parker Waichman's website or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636). (http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/zadroga-act-wtc-world-trade-center-claims-lawyer-attorney-lawsuit)
CONTACT: Keith Gitman, 516-466-6500, KGitman@yourlawyer.com
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SOURCE Parker Waichman LLP