Doctors have released a detailed medical report about symptoms of brain injury that were observed in U.S government personnel who were assigned in Havana, Cuba.
U.S Diplomats In Cuba Showing Symptoms Of Concussions
In a report published in the medical journal JAMA on Wednesday, Feb. 14, Randel Swanson II, from the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues, reported about the odd symptoms experienced by U.S diplomats in the Caribbean island nation.
The staff experienced sleep impairment, visual, balance, and auditory dysfunction as well as severe headaches that require treatment.
Some of those affected developed the symptoms within 24 hours after they arrived in Havana. Three suffered hearing loss and had to be fitted with hearing aids.
Taken together, the symptoms are comparable to that of brain dysfunction associated with concussions. While patients who suffered from concussions often make a quick and full recovery, however, the U..S government staff in Cuba experienced symptoms that lasted for months.
Swanson and colleagues tested 21 of the 24 embassy staff who sought medical attention starting late 2016 after reported experiences with audible and sensory phenomena in their homes or hotel rooms.
Swanson said that had these patients been put into a brain injury clinic, they would be thought of as having a traumatic brain injury from a car accident or a blast in the military.
No History Of Head Trauma
The doctors said that the patients had no history of head trauma but were still found to have changed within the white matter tracts in the brain. Swanson and colleagues raised concern about a new mechanism that can cause brain injury.
"These individuals appeared to have sustained injury to widespread brain networks without an associated history of head trauma," Swanson and colleagues wrote in their report.
Earlier reports have linked the diplomat's condition, particularly their auditory problems, to potential exposure to the covert sonic device. The authors, however, said that the cause of the mysterious condition remains unclear.
"The most plausible explanation is mass psychogenic illness triggered by a group of close-knit staff working for the same department in an anxiety-fueled, hostile, foreign environment in a country with a long and well-known history of targeting US embassy personnel," said Robert Bartholomew, from Botany College in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Canadian government also said that some of its diplomats have exhibited similar symptoms such as hearing loss and dizziness.