Neurologic Evaluations of Patients Exposed to the World Trade Center Disaster

J Occup Environ Med. 2016 Nov;58(11):1150-1154. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000889.


Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the clinical phenotype of a limited group of responders and survivors of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster who were referred for the evaluation of neuropathic symptoms.

Methods: Sixteen patients with WTC exposure were referred to a neurologist for evaluation. All had a neurologic examination. Most had electromyogram and nerve conduction testing/nerve conduction studies as well as appropriate imaging and blood tests.

Results: There was a higher probability of a neuropathy diagnosis in WTC-exposed patients than other patients referred for EMG testing. Two WTC-exposed patients had motor neuron disease and not neuropathy.

Conclusion: This study provides objective evidence of neuropathy in a relatively high fraction of WTC-exposed patients with neuropathic symptoms. It also emphasizes that the scope of neurologic problems following WTC exposure may include other diagnoses such as motor neuron disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Disasters
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Neural Conduction
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks*
  • Survivors*