“Medical testing has revealed the embassy workers developed changes to the white matter tracts that let different parts of the brain communicate.”
The attacks on American officials at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, keeps getting stranger and stranger. The latest information revealed that doctors have found brain abnormalities in the victims. From The Associated Press:
It’s the most specific finding to date about physical damage, showing that whatever it was that harmed the Americans, it led to perceptible changes in their brains. The finding is also one of several factors fueling growing skepticism that some kind of sonic weapon was involved.
Medical testing has revealed the embassy workers developed changes to the white matter tracts that let different parts of the brain communicate, several U.S. officials said, describing a growing consensus held by university and government physicians researching the attacks. White matter acts like information highways between brain cells.
Some of the victims woke up in the middle of the night and heard “disembodied chirping in the room, or a strange, low hum, or the sound of scraping metal.” Others described how “they felt a phantom flutter of air pass by as they listened.” There are some victims that did not notice anything.
But the victims felt the effects of these noises or non-noises 24 hours later. These symptoms included nausea, loss of hearing or sight, headaches, vertigo, and dizziness. Symptoms appeared to have gone away once the victims came back to America. At first officials and doctors believed a sonic weapon caused the issues. Now they don’t know.
The officials did not say if the doctors found these changes in all of the victims. Elisa Konofagou, a Columbia University biomedical engineering professor, told the AP that “accoustic waves have never been shown to alter the brain’s white matter tracts” and she “would be very surprised” if that is the cause of the abnormalities.
From The Washington Post:
“Physicians are treating the symptoms like a new, never-seen-before illness,” the AP wrote, and expect to monitor the victims for the rest of their lives, although most have fully recovered from their symptoms by now.
The physicians are working with FBI agents and intelligence agencies as they look for a source, and U.S. officials have not backed down from their accusations against the Cuban government, which denies any involvement despite a history of animosity between the two countries.
In October, experts provided the mysterious noise to the Ap. It’s high pitched, almost like nails on a chalkboard. They do not know what kind of mechanism produced this sound or who developed it. Those who heard a sound heard the same thing:
Yet the AP has reviewed several recordings from Havana taken under different circumstances, and all have variations of the same high-pitched sound. Individuals who have heard the noise in Havana confirm the recordings are generally consistent with what they heard.
“That’s the sound,” one of them said.
The recording being released by the AP has been digitally enhanced to increase volume and reduce background noise, but has not been otherwise altered.
The sound seemed to manifest in pulses of varying lengths — seven seconds, 12 seconds, two seconds — with some sustained periods of several minutes or more. Then there would be silence for a second, or 13 seconds, or four seconds, before the sound abruptly started again.
As the number of affected have risen, the State Department had no choice but to take action to protect our people. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided in late September to bring home all non-essential personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Havana, thus cutting the staff by 60% and halt citizen travel to the island.
On October 3, the Department of State informed the Government of Cuba that it was ordering the departure of 15 of its officials from its embassy in Washington, D.C. The decision was made due to Cuba’s failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention. This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations.
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