Cuban Scientists’ Assessment of Medical Problems of U.S. Diplomats         

                                                                                  Science, a journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, on December 5 published an article about the results of a Cuban scientific committee’s  study of the medical problems of 24 U.S. diplomats who had served at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The Cuban committee’s 20 members are physicians, neurologists, acoustic scientists, physicists and psychologists.[1]

The Cuban study concluded that the diplomats probably suffered a “collective psychogenic  disorder” [disorder having a psychological cause, not a physical cause] and not a deliberate ‘health attack.’” Stanley Fahn, a neurologist at Columbia University, who has seen a summary of Cuba’s report, agrees that “it could certainly be all psychogenic.“

Another U.S. neurologist, Alberto Espay of the University of Cincinnati, who has read the Cuban report, said,  “The combination of sudden onset of hearing loss, tinnitus, headaches, vertigo, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and memory problems would have to be related to multiple lesions in both brain hemispheres.” This comment coincides with the nearly simultaneous report of U.S. physicians who had treated some of the diplomats that their patients had abnormalities in the brain’s white matter tracts that normally let different parts of the brain communicate with one another.[2]

The committee lamentably was unable to obtain detailed medical data from the U.S. But it conducted audiometric tests on neighbors and domestic workers in the diplomats homes, examined environmental sounds and insecticides near the homes and recordings of certain sounds that were provided by the U.S.

One of the Cuban committee’s members emphasized that the findings were “provisional. If any evidence were available, they will  be willing to revise their conclusions and they are eager to team up with U.S. scientists.


[1] Stone, Stressful conditions, not ‘sonic weapon,’ sickened U.S. diplomats, Cuba panel asserts, Science (Dec. 5, 2017)  Many previous posts to this blog have discussed the issues raised by the medical problems of some U.S. diplomats; they are listed in the “U.S. Diplomats Medical Problems in Cuba, 2017” section of List of Posts to dwkcommentaries—Topical: Cuba.

[2]  Identification of Brain Abnormalities in U.S. Diplomats in Havana with Medical Damage, (Dec. 6, 2017).

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

One thought on “Cuban Scientists’ Assessment of Medical Problems of U.S. Diplomats         ”

  1. State Department’s Update on Health Problems of U.S. Diplomats in Cuba

    At the December 7 press conference U.S. State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said the U.S. investigation of the health problems of U.S. diplomats who had been in Cuba :is still underway [by the Department’s] Diplomatic Security division . . . along with DOJ.” They also “have been engaged in having conversations with members of Congress.”

    Fortunately the number of affected individuals has not changed.

    U.S. State Dep’t, Department Press Briefing—December 7, 2017.

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