The brain of 40 former employees of the US embassy in Cuba, who developed mysterious symptoms during so-called "sonic attacks", shows a clear difference to a control group, according to a new study.
Employees developed the so-called "Havana Syndrome" – headache, dizziness, nausea and other symptoms that occurred when they heard piercing, high pitched sounds.
MRI scans of 23 men and 17 women showed changes in brain structure and, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, functional connectivity between different parts of the organ is mind-boggling compared to 48 other adults.
The difference in brain between the two groups "is quite overwhelming at the moment," said senior researcher Dr Ragini Verma, professor of radiology at Penn University, told Reuters: "Most of these patients had a definite Kind of symptoms and there is a clinical abnormality that is reflected in an ima gingival abnormality, "she said.
However, Verma and her team stated in the results published by the Journal of the American Medical Association that it is unclear whether brain patterns directly translate into significant health problems.
Initial MRI examinations by 21
The health problems of diplomats occurred in 2016 after the Obama administration reopened the embassy to improve relations with Cuba.
Most of the staff were removed from the communist island nation in 2017.
President Trump has blamed Cuba for what the US State Department referred to as the "serious injuries" of the workers dismissed the allegation that health attacks and Brain damage caused the symptoms.
However, the study did not draw conclusions about the cause of the symptoms. The MRI confirm that "something has happened to the brain of these people," Verma told AFP.
"It's unimaginable." All I can say is that a truth must be found, "she said, adding," Whatever happened was not due to an existing condition, because we are testing it. "
Some of those affected have recovered and returned to work, but others are still in rehab, Verma said.
The new study met with some skepticism.
Jon Stone, a professor of neurology at the University of Edinburgh's Center for Clinical Brain Sciences, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters.
Dr. Sergio Della Sala, a professor of human cognitive neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, called the study "half-baked" and found that 12 of the affected workers who had a concussion history prior to their departure to Cuba were included in the analysis. 19659002] "By comparison, none of the controls reported an earlier brain injury. This alone could lead to statistical group differences, "said Della Sala.
Skeptics have also challenged US State Department allegations that an unknown weapon had been fired at the workers, later identified by insect experts as the mating call of the Indian short-tailed cricket.