Doctors find ‘change’ in brains of diplomats in Cuba

National News

July 24, 2019 - 10:33 AM

MIAMI — Whatever happened in Havana, where several U.S. diplomats became ill after hearing strange sounds, changed the brain structure of those affected, according to a new study published on Tuesday.

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine analyzed magnetic resonance imaging scans of 40 people — 23 men and 17 women — who were exposed to sounds or vibrations while they were in the Cuban capital. When compared with images from two control groups, the researchers found “significant differences” between the groups in the volume of white and gray matter, in the cerebellum and the “functional connectivity in the auditory and visuospatial subnetworks.”

The first incidents in Havana were reported at the end of 2016 and the most recent in May of last year. The U.S. State Department confirmed that so far 26 diplomats and family members had been affected by what they considered attacks against their personnel. The study includes personnel who could have been exposed to an alleged “directional source” of energy, officials and scientists have speculated following the descriptions given by the patients.

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