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CornerStone Vol. 26, No.1, Spring/Summer 2016
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Front page...

A Second Miracle for Allison
Revolutionary Heart Procedure Provides New Treatment for Sufferers of Aortic Valve Stenosis
WATCHMAN: A New Treatment Option for Patients with Atrial Fibrillation
Lifesaving Procedure and Wedding Bells for Patient with Rare Heart Condition
New, State-of-the-Art Trauma Center Opens
Committed to the Fight against Obesity
Empowered to Educate: Women with Heart Disease Fight Back
American Heart Association Awards Grant-in-Aid to NYU Winthrop Researchers
Diabetes Prevention Program: Motivating Local Residents to Change Their Lives
24th Annual Gala Raises More than $1,000,000
Celebrating Service and Philanthropy: Special Room Dedication Held for Esteemed Physician
Getting into the Spirit at NYU Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids
Annual Golf Outing Benefits the CCFK
Bo Jackson Brings Special Memories
Gregg’s Wings Foundation Continues Support
CCFK Patients Rock at Seventh Annual Rock2Beat Pediatric Cancer
Local Kiwanis Club Continues Longtime Support
CCFK Crosses the Finish Line
A Cause to Celebrate Raises Nearly $115,000 for Child Life Program
Good for the Brain: Unique Art Expressions Group Brings Patients and Caregivers Together
A Family Tradition of Philanthropy
Unique Toilet Training Program Helps Youngsters ‘Go’
New Mural Brightens Walls and Lifts Spirits
New Chiropractic Collaboration Provides Coordinated Care for Patients
NYU Winthrop Nurses Earn Prestigious Magnet Recognition
New Member Elected to NYU Winthrop’s Board of Directors
New Electronic Medical Record Set to Go Live This Summer
Raising the Bar for Care with National Recognitions
Yuletide Ball Raises $207,000 for Child Life Program
A Bite of Hope for Pediatric Diabetes Patients
Celebrating a 23-Year Partnership
Amanda Styles Cirelli Foundation Supports NYU Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids
Floreine J. NYU Winthrop’s Memory Honored with Tranquil Garden
Senator Martins Spreads Cheer Among Young Patients
Preventing Heat-Related Illness
NYU Winthrop Researchers Advocate for 9/11 First Responders Suffering from Debilitating Neurological Condition
A Special Evening of Tasting and Giving Supports Pediatric Patients
 

NYU Winthrop Researchers Advocate for 9/11 First Responders Suffering from Debilitating Neurological Condition

World Trade Center first responders with neuropathy – a painful neurological disorder that affects the nerves in the legs, back, feet, arms and hands – can rest assured that a campaign is underway advocating for the condition to be added to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, thanks to recent research conducted at NYU Winthrop- University Hospital.

“We have to help these people. We owe them that,” said Marc Wilkenfeld, MD, Chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at NYU Winthrop, one of the lead authors of a recent study that found first responders and survivors of the World Trade Center disaster experience symptoms of neuropathy at a rate more than 15 times higher than the normal rate. Neuropathy is currently not among the list of conditions that are covered under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act – a law that provides continued funding for health- care programs treating those affected by the 9/11 events for the next 75 years.

First responders suffering with neuropathy joined with Mark Stecker, MD, PhD, Chairman of Neurosciences (right), and Marc Wilkenfeld, MD, Chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (second from right), at a press conference to discuss the findings of their recent study which found World Trade Center first responders to be more than 15 times more likely to have symptoms of the debilitating neurological condition.

Dr. Wilkenfeld and Mark Stecker, MD, Phd, NYU Winthrop’s Chairman of Neurosciences, coauthors of the study published in the January edition of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, along with several first responders whose lives have been directly impacted by the condition, recently gathered to share their stories at a press conference held at NYU Winthrop.

“For many World Trade Center first responders who were exposed to the toxic brew of chemicals present during the rescue and recovery efforts following 9/11, a host of medical conditions are the unfortunate result of their heroic efforts,” said Dr. Wilkenfeld, who is committed to advocating for and providing the very best medical care to many first responders.

When Dr. Wilkenfeld noticed over the years that many of his patients were suffering with neuropathy, he approached Dr. Stecker and the two devised a study to examine these observations further. Their first study took nerves from rats and exposed them to dust from the 9/11 recovery site. The results, published in 2014, demonstrated that expo- sure to the dust indeed damaged the rats’ nerves. Yet, they knew this was not enough evidence to persuade the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to include neuropathy as a cov- ered condition under the Zadroga Act. So, the NYU Winthrop physicians took their research a step further, looking at 255 people with neuropathic symptoms, approximately half of whom were not exposed to the World Trade Center site.

“In our study, those exposed to the World Trade Center disaster were more than 15 times more likely than those who were not exposed to have symptoms of neuropathy,” said Dr. Stecker. “This effect could not be explained by the presence of age or any other medical factor such as diabetes or B12 deficiency. These findings could also not be explained by depression or the lack of well-being.”

“The study we performed as follow-up indeed shows elevated rates of neuropathy symptoms in World Trade Center responders,” said Dr. Wilkenfeld. “As was the case with changes in the law to add cancers as a covered condition, we believe that our responder heroes suffering from neuropathy deserve to have their condition recognized as being due to their exposures to the toxic dust.”

According to first responder John Feal, President of the FealGood Foundation, and an advocate for first responders, “In 2010, we passed a bill without cancer, and a year later, cancer was added. In 2015, we passed a bill without neuropathy. I promise you all that we will advocate and fight with the same energy as we did in 2010 to get neuropathy added to the James Zadroga Health & Compensation Act.”

For more information about NYU Winthrop’s research in the area of neuropathy, call 1-866-WINTHROP or visit www.winthrop.org.