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Another Study Finds Cognitive Impairment Among 9/11 First Responders

March 5, 2021 | Michael Barasch

In the nearly two decades since September 11, 2001, we continue to learn every day about the long-term health effects of exposure to Ground Zero toxins.

68 types of cancer and numerous respiratory diseases have been listed as “covered conditions” by the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) – a list that continues to expand as doctors find a higher risk of illnesses among 9/11 community members.     

A recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found another serious risk for approximately 500,000 9/11 first responders and survivors: cognitive impairment that could develop into early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This study joins the list of mounting data linking 9/11 toxic exposure to memory loss.

For the study, a team of researchers looked at the brain images of twenty 9/11 first responders, which by middle age demonstrated significant neurodegeneration in areas typically impacted by early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Despite this study and other evidence linking Ground Zero exposure and cognitive impairment, the WTC Health Program and 9/11 VCF have not yet added any neurodegenerative problems to the list of conditions considered eligible for free health care and compensation.

However, new illnesses have been added to that list in the past, and an increasing amount of data from the Health Program helps strengthen the correlation between toxic exposure and a host of illnesses — such as cognitive impairment. 

To learn about the free World Trade Center Health Program and 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

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