Dr. Ronnie Fass, chief of gastroenterology at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System in Tucson, cautioned that "you have to be really careful how you interpret this data. Questionnaire retrospective studies like this have limitations."
But, Fass added, "I will say that this is somewhat surprising, because it suggests that we're not really sure what's going on. This means that we have to go back to the drawing board and further investigate to find out what is the exact mechanism in these patients that gave rise to reflux."
Dr. Perry J. Milman, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, agreed.
"This is interesting because the big question remains: why?" he said. "That is not answered here. It could be stress, which is a known trigger for GI [gastrointestinal] symptoms. And for those prone to develop GI symptoms when exposed to a major stressor, exposure to these particular events could have been the trigger. But that remains to be seen."
For more on the health impact of the 9/11 WTC attacks, visit the website of The City of New York.
SOURCES: Ronnie Fass, M.D., gastroenterologist, professor, medicine, University of Arizona, and chief, gastroenterology, Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, Tucson; Perry J. Milman, M.D., assistant clinical professor, medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City, and adjunct assistant clinical professor, medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, and private practice, Lake Success, N.Y.; Sept. 6, 2011, American Journal of Gastroenterology, online
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