MRI brain scans of 40 patients – 23 men and 17 women – showed differences in brain structure and functional connectivity that measured the relationships between different brain regions compared to 48 other adults. The scans were performed between August 2017 and June 2018.
"There were group differences throughout the brain," said study author Ragini Verma, a professor of radiology and neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. "Especially in an area called the cerebellum, which is also associated with the clinical symptoms that most of these patients showed, namely, balance, eye movement, dizziness, etc."
According to the study, the auditory and visuospatial areas of the brain are affected. The authors note, however, that the clinical relevance of these findings is uncertain and they did not have previous MRI's of patients to compare what their brain looked like before the incident.
In addition, these patterns do not match clearly picture of a specific disorder, say the authors.
"It certainly does not resemble the imaging of traumatic brain injury or concussion, although it has clinical symptoms that resemble concussion," Verma said.
"It says something has happened, and we have to keep looking, and that's it already."
Dr. Jamshid Ghajar, director of the Stanford Concussion & Brain Performance Center, said it was "remarkable" that researchers found differences between the brains of healthy controls and those involved in the incident in Cuba, especially given the "differences within the population itself Regarding their symptoms and what kind of ailments they had. "
" I think the jury is well aware of what caused them, but certainly these patients complain about symptoms and they had measured impairments, "Ghajar said who was not involved in the study was new paper. "So something is going on and I think it needs further investigation."
What did you hear?
"The sounds were often associated with pressure-type or vibratory sensory stimuli," said the study. "The sensory stimuli were akin to airborne confusion in a moving car with partially lowered windows."
One patient reported hearing two 10-second pulses while others reported hearing the sound for more than 30 minutes. the report said.
Can a noise actually cause a brain injury?
The noise itself probably did not directly produce the symptoms. Previous study that found that audible sound "does not cause permanent damage to the central nervous system."
"We do not believe that the audible tone was the problem," said Dr , Douglas Smith, author of both studies and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Brain Repair, University of Pennsylvania, told CNN. "We believe the audible noise was a consequence of the exposure."
"I do not know of an acoustic effect that would produce vibration-like symptoms." According to my research, strong human effects require loudness levels that are perceived as very loud. Noise during exposure, "said Jürgen Altmann, physics professor at the Technical University of Dortmund Berlin, previously opposite CNN.
Similarly, US State Department and federal investigators testified that they were unable to determine the cause or cause of the complaints in Havana, stating that they were "most likely associated with a non-natural trauma." Source ".
What were the symptoms? In a brain injury clinic where you did not know her background, you would think she was in a car accident or an explosion in the military have suffered a traumatic brain injury, "said Dr. Randel Swanson, another author of both studies and a specialist in br In the rehabilitation of injuries at the University of Pennsylvania, which was previously published in the medical journal JAMA.
Swanson and his colleagues examined the patients and found a variety of symptoms, including sharp earache, headache, ringing in one ear, dizziness, disorientation, and attention problems and signs associated with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.
In addition, a majority of patients reported problems with memory, concentration, balance, vision, hearing, sleeping, or headache that persisted for more than three months.
"It's like a concussion without concussion," Swanson wrote.
Many reported that they felt "mentally foggy" or "slowed". for months, the authors said. Some reported irritability and nervousness, with two criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder met. It was also observed a worse work performance.
Three people eventually needed hearing aids for moderate to severe hearing loss and others had ringing or pressure in their ears. More than half had to be prescribed medication to sleep or to deal with a headache. Many could not return to work at least temporarily.
Physicians have found that some symptoms of the patient usually do not occur in a concussion, such as pain and ringing in one ear only. Although concussion patients often experience a quick and complete recovery, these patients have experienced symptoms for months.
Doctors are still perplexed, while Cuban officials have emphatically denied that there were targeted attacks on diplomats in Havana, and said their symptoms could have been caused by other factors.
Officials have investigated similar cases in China. The US Department of State has extended a health alert there after a series of alleged acoustic incidents involving diplomatic personnel having suffered injuries similar to those in Cuba.