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9/11 Tied to Increase in Acid Reflux Disease
Date:9/6/2011

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Li's team found that a little more than one-fifth of the Registry pool had symptoms of GERD when the first survey was conducted, and about two-thirds of those continued to struggle with symptoms by the time the second survey was administered.

Overall, the researchers found that the greatest incidence of GERD symptoms was cited among rescue and recovery workers who were present on 9/11; those who worked at the site for more than three months afterwards; and residents and vicinity workers who returned to homes, stores and offices that remained covered with dust.

The risk for developing such symptoms appeared to be equal across gender. However, Hispanics, poorer individuals, smokers and those with less than a high school diploma were more likely to report symptoms, while younger individuals (between 18 and 24) were less likely.

The researchers additionally confirmed prior indications that asthma and PTSD are in some way linked to GERD risk, and that having either or both significantly elevated GERD symptom risk.

While just under 14 percent of those who had neither asthma nor PTSD were found to have developed initial GERD symptoms, that figure rocketed up to nearly 46 percent among those with both, the investigators found.

The long-term persistence of GERD issues similarly went up with the presence of PTSD and asthma: 36 percent of those with both conditions were found to have lingering GERD symptoms five to six years following 9/11, while the same was true among 13 percent of those who just had asthma and nearly one-quarter of those who had PTSD.

However, even without asthma or PTSD, the risk for developing lasting GERD symptoms increased in direct correlation to the length of exposure to the dust cloud and other effects, the findings showed.

Li and colleagues suggested a number of reasons why 9/11 might have independently boosted GERD risk, including the environmental contaminants found in the dust cloud (such as alka
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