Stony Brook studies: 9/11 first responders at increased risk for dementia, memory loss

Two new studies from Stony Brook University say 9/11 first responders have a higher risk of developing cognitive disorders like dementia or memory loss.
John Feal, of the FealGood Foundation, says it's just one more thing first responders have to be aware of.
"We were exposed 24/7 to those toxins. 18.5 years later it's taking its toll, so whether it's a 9/11-related cancer or a respiratory illness... men and women are looking over their shoulder, uniform and nonuniform, whether they're going to get dementia" says Feal.
In one study, researchers used an MRI to take 3D images on the brain.
"What we found was that the cognitively impaired individuals had signs that the outside of the brain was atrophied or degraded as compared to the cognitively normal respondents," says Dr. Sean Clouston.
Clouston says the results were surprising because of the age of the first responders.
"It was a surprise because the responders we put into the imaging machine are very young, between 44 and 65, which is extremely unusual to start seeing things like this at that age," he says.
In the second study, researchers did blood testing to look for specific proteins that might show signs of something happening in the body.
"What we found there was that there were signs that the individuals with cognitive impairment had an immune response that was actually fairly similar to other individuals who also have Alzheimer's disease," says Clouston.
Feal says these studies should prompt Congress to add cognitive-related illnesses to the Victims' Compensation Fund.