Asthma, PTSD, and Other Health Effects of 9/11
An analysis of the health of 71,437 people enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry shows that many of them may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Included in the registry—which was started in 2003 to track mental and physical health effects of 9/11—are rescue and recovery workers, commuters, area workers, Lower Manhattan residents, and passersby. Two to three years after 9/11, 3 percent of adults enrolled in the registry reported new onset of asthma since the attacks, 16 percent had likely experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, and 8 percent endured severe psychological distress. Rescue and recovery workers experienced the highest rate of asthma, and post-traumatic stress disorder was more common among those who were injured and in Hispanics and low-income registry participants. Overall, women, minorities, and low-income participants had higher rates of physical and mental problems.
In June, a study found that exposure therapy may be helpful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. An assessment released in April reported that nearly 1 in 5 Iraq veterans report having signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Knee Surgery No Better than Physical Therapy, Medications
A study finds that knee patients who have arthroscopic surgery do no better than patients who undergo physical therapy and take such medications as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Surgery offered no additional benefits for most types of arthritic knee problems, according to the study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. A 2002 study in the same journal found that, for many patients, the minimally invasive procedure was no more beneficial than sham surgery. Many orthopedic surgeons, however, immediately said that that study's methodology was flawed, and few backed away from knee arthroscopy.
Charging Victims to Collect Rape Evidence
Some blogs are reporting that when Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, in the late 1990s, the local municipal police department charged rape victims for the "rape kit" used to collect the forensic evidence necessary to convict their attackers. According to reports, this changed in 2000 when then- Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles signed a bill protecting rape victims from being charged for the kits. But the situation in Wasilla is not unique. In February, U.S. News's Michelle Andrews reported on how rape victims can be hurt financially in locations that bill victims to collect such evidence.
How Do Abortions Affect Men?
The Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Evangelization—both staunch opponents of abortion—recently wrapped up a national conference that focused on the reported mental-health effects of abortion on men. Attendees of the Reclaiming Fatherhood conference heard from men who struggled after going through an abortion and from therapists and other experts who offered men advice on how to cope with the experience, Adam Voiland reports.
Last month, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz explained that abortions are unlikely to cause depression in women.
—January W. Payne