A study led by Charles Hall, Ph.D., found that the presence of PTSD and depression symptoms is a major pathway by which exposure to World Trade Center dust causes cognitive problems in 9/11 first responders. The results were published online on August 6 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Participating rescue workers took tests that assessed their “subjective cognition” by asking them to rate themselves on cognitive skills such as their memory or their ability to operate household appliances. Previous studies have shown that perceiving one’s cognitive health as poor can indicate dementia and future pathological cognitive decline.
Results indicated that rescue workers with PTSD and depressive symptoms rated themselves more poorly in cognition compared with rescue workers not affected by those problems. The findings indicate the need to recognize and treat PTSD and depression in people with self-perceived cognitive decline to reduce their impact on cognitive function.
Dr. Hall is professor of epidemiology & population health and in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein.
Posted on: Thursday, September 24, 2020