American diplomats in Cuba brain mystery deepens

American diplomats who fell ill with headaches and dizziness while serving in Cuba clearly had something affecting their brains, recent medical tests have revealed.

Detailed intensive brain scans of US Embassy employees who reported falling ill while in Havana have revealed significant differences to a control group undergoing the same tests.

University of Pennsylvania researchers describe “jaw-dropping” differences in the results of the two groups being scanned.

The researchers have found clinical abnormalities being reflected in an imaging anomaly. These abnormalities do not show up in the healthy workers being scanned.

Initial MRI scans, however, of 21 of the affected embassy workers had revealed no abnormalities.

The problems began in 2016 after the US Embassy was reopened by President Barack Obama in a bid to improve US relations with Cuba. Most of the workers were removed from the embassy by 2017.

President Donald Trump has subsequently blamed Cuba for “significant injuries” suffered by the workers. But the Cuban Government has denied any responsibility. Canadian Embassy officials were also removed from Havana after suffering similar symptoms.

More than two dozen US and Canadian workers in Havana were stricken with symptoms that included headaches, dizziness, trouble thinking, broken sleep patterns, memory lapses, and difficulties with balance.

The latest research has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), but does not suggest if the brain patterns detected directly translate into serious health problems.

The Cuban Government has described the study as not coherent with previous studies and says it is only serving to muddy the picture.

The US State Department has stated: “The Department is aware of the study and welcomes the medical community’s discussion on this incredibly complex issue.”