Wednesday February 19, 2020

Study: 9/11 Survivors May Face the Risk of Developing Increased Heart, Lung Diseases Years Later

The monumental terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11 have managed to leave behind scars that are much more than just skin-deep

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The 9/11 attacks. wikimedia
  • A recent study shows that the survivors may be at an increased long-term risk of asthma, other similar respiratory diseases, and heart attack
  • The findings indicate that intense exposure on a single day – the first day of the disaster – contributes substantially to the risk of developing chronic conditions
  • The authors used data from the WTC Health Registry cohort to examine the long term health effects of acute exposure to the dust cloud or physical injury caused by the terrorist attack

Washington, July 18, 2017: The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, have made the accident a historical event, having left behind scars that are much more than just skin-deep. A recent study shows that the survivors may be at an increased long-term risk of asthma, other similar respiratory diseases, and heart attack.

The association between physical injury or acute exposure to the dust cloud on the morning of September 11, 2001, and chronic diseases up to ten to eleven years later (2010-2012) were examined and analyzed by researchers at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

According to the corresponding author Robert Brackbill, the findings indicate that intense exposure on a single day – the first day of the disaster – contributes substantially to the risk of developing chronic conditions. He also mentioned, “Continued monitoring of people who were present in the vicinity of the World Trade Centre on 11th September by medical providers is warranted for the foreseeable future.”

The researchers observed that the number of types of injuries, such as fractures, head injuries, or sprains, a person sustained on 11th September 2001 was associated with an increased risk of angina or heart attack in a dose-dependent manner. This means that the risk of having angina or a heart attack went up with every additional injury type.

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According to ANI, exposure to dust, PTSD and being a rescue worker, as well as current smoking were associated with a higher risk of non-neoplastic lung disease (lung conditions not involving tumors) other than just asthma. Dust exposure, on its own, was associated with an increased risk of asthma. But none of these risk factors were associated with a higher risk of diabetes.

Out of the total number of 8,701 people who were a part of this study, 41% had been intensely exposed to the dust cloud, 10% had a single injury, 2% had two types of injury and 1% had three or more.

In the survey, the researchers also noticed 92 incident cases of heart disease, 327 new cases of diabetes, 308 cases of asthma, and 297 cases of non-neoplastic lung disease among 7,503 area workers, 249 rescue workers, 131 residents and 818 bystanders – the most heavily exposed groups.

The authors used data from the WTC Health Registry cohort to examine the long term health effects of acute exposure to the dust cloud, or physical injury caused by the terrorist attack. The WTC Health Registry is responsible for monitoring the physical and mental health of 71,431 persons exposed to the 9/11 attacks.

In the study, a lack of specific information on the severity, location, and treatment of injuries, as well as on the circumstances in which they were sustained meant that the number of types of injuries was used as a proxy measure of injury severity. However, the authors mentioned that it has been shown by previous researchers that more than one type of injury can be associated with increased risk of death and longer stays in the hospital.

The study has been published in the Injury Epidemiology journal.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter @dubumerang

Next Story

Exposure to Air Pollution May Trigger Non-Fatal Heart Attack

Air pollution's tiny particles may trigger heart attacks

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Heart attack pollution
Exposure to ambient ultrafine particles common in air pollution may potentially trigger a non-fatal heart attack. Pixabay

Researchers have found that even a few hours’ exposure to ambient ultrafine particles common in air pollution may potentially trigger a non-fatal heart attack.

Myocardial infarction is a major form of cardiovascular disease worldwide. Ultrafine particles (UFP) are 100 nanometres or smaller in size. In urban areas, automobile emissions are the primary source of UFP.

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers investigated the effects of UFP exposure and heart attacks using the number of particles and the particle length and surface area concentrations at hourly intervals of exposure.

“This study confirms something that has long been suspected–air pollution’s tiny particles can play a role in serious heart disease. This is particularly true within the first few hours of exposure,” said the study’s first author Kai Chen, Assistant Professor at Yale University in the US.

Heart attack pollution
The researchers were interested in whether transient UFP exposure could trigger heart attacks and whether alternative metrics such as particle length and surface area concentrations could improve the investigation of UFP-related health effects. Pixabay

UFP constitute a health risk due to their small size, large surface areas per unit of mass, and their ability to penetrate the cells and get into the blood system, the study said.

The researchers were interested in whether transient UFP exposure could trigger heart attacks and whether alternative metrics such as particle length and surface area concentrations could improve the investigation of UFP-related health effects.

The research team examined data from a registry of all non-fatal MI cases in Augsburg, Germany.

The study looked at more than 5,898 non-fatal heart attack patients between 2005 and 2015.

The individual heart attacks were compared against air pollution UFP data on the hour of the heart attack and adjusted for a range of additional factors, such as the day of the week, long-term time trend and socio-economic status.

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“This represents an important step toward understanding the appropriate indicator of ultrafine particles exposure in determining the short-term health effects, as the effects of particle length and surface concentrations were stronger than the ones of particle number concentration and remained similar after adjustment for other air pollutants,” said Chen.

“Our future analyses will examine the combined hourly exposures to both air pollution and extreme temperature. We will also identify vulnerable subpopulations regarding pre-existing diseases and medication intake,” Chen added. (IANS)