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The Link Between the 9/11 Attacks, Stress & Cardiovascular Ailments

This is Science Today. People who had acute stress reactions to the September 11th terrorist attacks had a two-to three-fold increased incidence in cardiovascular ailments for up to three years following the attacks. These were the findings of a study looking into the psychological impact of 9/11 and the long-term health effects of traumatic life events. Alison Holman, a professor of Nursing Science at the University of California, Irvine, led the study.

Holman:          What's remarkable about these findings is that these individuals, their exposure level was predominantly through seeing the attacks on television. And most of them did not have cardiovascular ailments prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Narrator:        The findings were strongest among those who had high levels of perceived fear of a terrorist attack in the future.

Holman:          So, altogether we had a sample that was indirectly exposed, did not have preexisting heart problems and their relationship between their acute stress reactions and cardiovascular ailments was highest among people who had fears of future terrorism.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.