COLUMBUS, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— It was the worst act of terrorism in our country’s history and the deadliest day ever for first responders. Of the 2,700 people killed in New York City, more than 400 were firefighters, paramedics, and police officers. In the 19 years since, more than 200 first responders have died after a chronic illness. More on what researchers are now looking for as they study the remains of Ground Zero and 9-11 dust.
These are scenes most of us will never forget. Now, scientists from Ohio State and New York University are examining dust from Ground Zero to learn more about the potential health effects on first responders. Researchers are taking the dust which contains asbestos and heavy metals and aerosolizing it to test the effect on lab rats.
“We expose animals to the dust at specific concentrations which would be similar to what a first responder would’ve been exposed to on the day that the towers collapsed,” explained Loren Wold, PhD, FAHA, Assistant Dean for Biological Research at The Ohio State University.
Then the scientists will examine the animals’ hearts to measure any potential changes from the dust exposure. Wold says many first responders who were in their thirties and forties at the time of the attacks are now having cardiovascular problems.
“What they’re now seeing are these cardiac complications, lung issues, as well as the early onset neurodegenerative issues,” elaborated Wold.
Wold says one month in the life of a rat represents about one human year, giving researchers a potential window into how World Trade Center dust could have impacted people over time.
The research team says they can also use this information in the future to study particulates in the air, after other natural disasters like bridge collapses or earthquakes.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: 9-11 DUST AND HEALTH EFFECTS
REPORT: MB #4787
BACKGROUND: More than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions, for example, coronary artery disease, which can cause a heart attack. Other kinds of heart disease may involve the valves in the heart, or the heart may not pump well and cause heart failure. Then, there are some people born with heart disease. Anyone, including children, can develop heart disease. It occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries. When this happens, your arteries can narrow over time, reducing blood flow to the heart. Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, and not getting enough exercise all increase your risk for having heart disease, as well as high cholesterol, high blood, pressure, and diabetes.
9/11 HEART HEALTH RESEARCH: Research has begun to uncover ways in which the 9/11 aftermath has altered the hearts and minds of those affected. Respiratory illnesses were among the first reported health issues, which were characterized by chronic coughing and wheezing. Another common complaint was acid reflux, along with sleep apnea and sinus problems that often led to blocked upper airways. Many of these problems were attributed to the collapse of the towers filling the air with numerous carcinogenic particles and chemicals, including asbestos and fiberglass. Only more recently has research shown a link between the dust and cardiovascular health. Other studies published this year in JAMA Oncology found the firefighters that were on scene have a heightened risk of developing multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. They also have a greater chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, thyroid cancer and melanoma in years to come.
ADVANCES IN TREATMENT: High-tech implants and heart pumps can help check how your heart is doing in real time, so you can adjust your medications if needed. Research on new blood and genetic testing may soon make it easier for doctors to diagnose heart failure earlier or spot who’s most at risk. “Heart failure is no longer about ‘failure,’” says Clyde W. Yancy, MD, chief of cardiology at Northwestern University. “The array of medical and device therapies, and the insight we now have regarding prevention, makes this both a preventable and treatable condition.” Another advance is reconstruction surgery, which can reshape the heart, so it pumps blood easier. Your doctor may be able to repair the valves which makes the heart smaller, allowing it to work better.
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