Heated charges have flown back and forth for months between the two countries that bracket the Strait of Florida. U.S. State Department officials contended Cuba staged a sonic attack on employees of the American embassy, causing a variety of neurological symptoms. Cuba has not only denied such an attack ever took place but has also emphasized the physical impossibility of a sound wave causing neurological damage trained on such a distant target.
But physicians and scientists from both countries now appear to be in agreement on one critical point: Both sides acknowledge they are baffled as to what happened to 24 embassy employees who were diagnosed with mild traumatic brain damage between November 2016 and August 2017.
The latest development is a preliminary publication in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association on Thursday, authored by the team of doctors at the University of Pennsylvania who examined 21 of the U.S. government employees. The study, commissioned by the federal government, found the patients had suffered from concussionlike symptoms—but without any blunt trauma to the head. The medical issues varied widely among the patients, and included cognitive difficulties and problems with balance, eye tracking, sleep disturbances and headache.
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