AAN: 9/11 Fumes Linked to Persistent Headaches

Residents and workers exposed to initial dust cloud more likely to report headaches
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In New York City residents and workers exposed to dust, gas, and fumes after the World Trade Center collapse, headache may be a predominant and persistent problem, according to research released Feb. 10 in advance of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 10 to 17 in Toronto.

Sara Crystal, M.D., of the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues interviewed 803 patients who were enrolled in the Bellevue Hospital World Trade Center Environmental Health Center after December 2008, and excluded from their analysis 38 patients who reported headache prior to the World Trade Center collapse.

Among the remaining 765 patients, the researchers found that the 54.6 percent who reported exposure to the initial dust cloud were significantly more likely than unexposed patients to report headaches in the four weeks preceding enrollment. These individuals were also more likely to report moderate-to-severe headaches. They also found that patients who reported headache in the preceding four weeks were more likely to report post-9/11 symptoms such as wheezing, dyspnea with exercise, nasal drip/sinus congestion, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

"More research needs to be done on the possible longer-term effects of exposure to gasses and dust when the World Trade Center fell," Crystal said in a press release. "We also need additional studies to understand the relationship between headaches, other physical symptoms, and mental health issues."

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