Responder patients, doctors and caregivers available to talk about this disturbing trend 20 years after the WTC attacks
Now 20 years after the 911 attacks, WTC responders continue to experience many health problems. Some of their illnesses are covered under the Zadroga Act as a 911-related condition. Some are not covered, including cognitive decline and possible dementia.
The Stony Brook WTC Health and Wellness Program treats and monitors some 12,000 responders annually. Clinicians have seen an increase in early cognitive decline in many responder patients in recent years, a loss of cognition not common to normal individuals in their 50s and early 60s.
Dr. Benjamin Luft, Director of the Stony Brook Program, and his colleagues can speak about this disturbing trend in patients, and what these patients are experiencing. Some of the patients themselves and their family members are also willing to discuss this problem in their lives.
Patients with significant cognitive decline willing to share their stories include traditional responders like firefighters and police officers, but also construction workers and other non-traditional responders, such as volunteers and a tax advisor.
Evidence is mounting in this patient population that dementia much earlier in life is a real possibility. The Stony Brook medical and research team has also published research providing such evidence, which they can explain. Both imaging and blood biomarker testing of patients experiencing cognitive challenges show the physical evidence that a decline is taking place due to brain and blood changes, in individuals without a known disease causing these problems.
Filming can take place at the Stony Brook WTC clinic in Commack, NY, where there are clinical examination areas, a laboratory, offices, and a large conference room. Some patients and families are also willing to be filmed at their homes.